Sep 17 2010 2:56pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Winter’s Heart, Part 18

Greetings and salutations, people of! In token of my appreciation for your existence on this plane, I offer you a Wheel of Time Re-read. So don’t say I never did nothin’ for ya, hear?

Today’s entry covers Chapters 26 and 27 of Winter’s Heart, in which we have precarious politics, peevish pregnancy pestering, and provocative possibilities of profligate potation.

Previous re-read entries are here. The Wheel of Time Master Index is here, in which you can find links to news, reviews, and all manner of information regarding the latest release, The Gathering Storm, and for WOT-related stuff in general.

This re-read post contains spoilers for all currently published Wheel of Time novels, up to and including Book 12, The Gathering Storm. If you haven’t read, read at your own risk.

Pand pow, peh Post!

Chapter 26: Expectation

What Happens
Elayne walks through the reflection of Emond’s Field in Tel’aran’rhiod with Egwene, and thinks Egwene looks stunned at the changes in her former home, which is no longer a village but a substantial fortified town. Egwene marvels over the battle memorial monument on the green, but Elayne is more concerned with the flag of Manetheren flying above it.

She loved Rand, but if someone in the place he grew up was trying to raise Manetheren from its ancient grave, she would have to take cognizance, however much it pained him. That banner and that name still carried enough power to threaten Andor.

Egwene wonders if her father is still mayor, and whether he and the rest of her family are well; Elayne suggests that Egwene could visit, but Egwene replies that she doesn’t think she’s ready to face Emond’s Field as Amyrlin. She repeats her offer to send some of Bryne’s troops to Caemlyn, but Elayne is sure no one will move against her before spring, and refuses. Elayne commiserates with Egwene on the hard decisions she has to make, and Egwene asks Elayne to tell her next time Rand visits. Elayne feels guilty that she has not told Egwene about her and Aviendha and Min bonding Rand, but only asks why Egwene seems more troubled about Rand than usual.

She was very much the Amyrlin Seat now, a short slender young woman who seemed strong as steel and tall as a mountain. Determination filled her dark eyes and set her jaw. “I know you love him. I love him, too. But I am not trying to heal the White Tower just so he can chain Aes Sedai like damane. Sleep well and have pleasant dreams, Elayne. Pleasant dreams are more valuable than people realize.” And with that, she was gone, back to the waking world.

Elayne is astonished that Egwene would think Rand capable of such a thing, and, troubled, steps out of the dream and wakes groggily. She pokes Aviendha awake, too, and they snipe at each other in sisterly fashion as they are dressing. Elayne is disgruntled at the extremely bland diet that has been dictated for her by Dyelin, Birgitte, and Reene Harfor as “suitable for a woman in her condition,” but is more annoyed that everyone in the Palace knows she is pregnant and is wildly speculating on the identity of the father. The leading candidate for the position, Captain Mellar, is her first visitor of the morning, looking hard and dangerous.

The two Guardswomen standing one on either side of the doors grimaced faintly. Mellar already had a reputation for pinching Guardswomen’s bottoms, the prettier ones’ at least, not to mention disparaging their abilities in the city’s taverns. The second was far worse, in the Guardswomen’s eyes.

Trying to be as brisk as possible, Elayne asks how the recruiting for her bodyguard is going, and Mellar answers (leeringly) that there are only thirty-two so far, and argues that it would go much faster if he were allowed to recruit men as well. Refusing this, Elayne suppresses a shudder at the notion that Mellar actually thinks she finds him attractive, and sends him out with a warm smile and a hand on his arm, thanking him again for saving her life. Seeing Aviendha’s expression at this, she whispers to her that the more people who think Elayne’s child is Mellar’s, the safer it will be; Aviendha frowns but does not argue. Halwin Norry comes in to give his report, which includes the news that the Borderlanders are still inexplicably camped in Braem Wood despite the fact that they must be running out of food; Elayne is dismissive of the rumors that Aes Sedai in Cairhien have sworn fealty to Rand. Reene Harfor replaces Norry to report that she has uncovered two more spies among the servants, to add to the nine they already know about, and Elayne sadly tells her to leave them in place.

“And the other matter, Mistress Harfor?”

“Nothing yet, my Lady, but I have hopes,” Reene said even more grimly than before. “I have hopes.”

Elayne meets with two merchants’ delegations who want reassurances that her tearing down Rand’s banners isn’t going to bring down his retaliation against Andor, and then Aviendha drags her upstairs for “fresh air.” Elayne scowls at all the mollycoddling, but then she sees Merilille returning at the Traveling ground below and hurries down to meet her. Merilille reports that all four Borderland rulers are in Braem Wood; Mellar asks disparagingly if she managed to get an accurate count of their numbers, though he thinks it hardly matters since they’re sure to starve soon. With cool dislike, Merilille replies that they are hard up but not starving yet, and estimates their numbers at something over two hundred thousand. She also adds that there are at least ten sisters with them; Merilille doesn’t think they are adherents to Egwene, but they might not be Elaida’s either. Elayne thinks that either way they are a problem, and asks what Merilille thinks the Borderlanders want. Merilille doesn’t know about the long term, but for now they want to meet with Elayne, and have “let slip” that they know Elayne was present in Falme when “certain events” took place, and that she has a connection to “a certain person” in whom they also have an interest. This confuses Mellar, but no one bothers to explain; Elayne looks at Birgitte, who shrugs.

The largest hole in Elayne’s hopes to use the Borderlanders to influence her opponents for the throne had been how to approach sitting rulers while she was merely the High Seat of Trakand and Daughter-Heir of a deceased queen. Birgitte’s shrug said be thankful for the hole closing, but Elayne wondered how these people from the Borderlands had learned what very few others knew. And if they knew, how many more did, too? She would protect her unborn child.

Elayne decides that they know too much to delay, and declares that she and Merilille will return to the Borderlanders’ encampment that afternoon.

If you aren’t reading the actual chapters along with me on this re-read, then you have NO IDEA how much time I just saved you. I’m just saying.

Egwene: I’m having a bit of trouble remembering whether Egwene knows, even as of TGS, about Rand’s triple-bonding dealie. If she doesn’t, well, it is certainly going to suck to be Elayne at some point.

As for her speech re: Rand “chaining Aes Sedai like damane,” I remember this was a statement that deeply worried the fandom, especially since many people took it as more evidence of Halima’s mucking around in Egwene’s brain. It does seem like an unusually slanted way to phrase it, since as far as I can recall the rumors flying around about the Aes Sedai in Cairhien only say that sisters were swearing to him. And an oath of fealty to a male channeler may not be something other Aes Sedai would be thrilled about, but it’s a far cry from supposing Rand’s fitting them with magical restraining bolts. Not to mention, given Egwene’s (understandably) virulent aversion to the concept of a’dam and damane in general, the statement is more ominous coming from her than it would be from almost anyone else in the series.

Manetheren: This whole “the specter of Manetheren is a threat to Andor!” thing has always mildly annoyed me, mainly because it strikes me as the political equivalent of throwing a temper tantrum over having a toy taken away that you never played with in the first place. Oh, yes, NOW you want it, don’t you, now that someone brought it up! Sheesh.

Seriously, if the Two Rivers haven’t contributed taxes to Andor in generations, who cares if they become their own nation? I mean, it’s not like Randland is exactly Standing Room Only these days, you know? It’s not like there aren’t whole other swathes of unclaimed territory sitting there for Andor to expand into if it feels like it!

Yes, okay, I know. Swathes of unclaimed territory haven’t kept Cairhien and Andor from taking the occasional potshot at each other, either, so okay, new charismatic nation on Andor’s doorstep, threat, I get it. But still.

By the way, I’m not sure if it’s intentional or not, but the diet Elayne is manhandled into by Birgitte et al seems to me like the worst pregnancy diet EVER. I mean, I’m hardly an expert here, but I’m pretty sure the point is to eat more diversely, not less. And gain weight, not lose it! I have never been able to figure out if we’re supposed to be in on the joke that Elayne’s people’s pregnancy advice all sucks, or if it’s meant to be right—because some of it seems sort of right, but then some of it really doesn’t—or if we’re just supposed to be horrified, or what.

But again, I can’t say I have any practical experience in this area, so, what the hell do I know. Perhaps some actual parents in the audience can chime in on this one.

Mellar: Ugh, vomit. I’m not sure whether I’m impressed or appalled that Elayne is actually able to stomach feigning attraction for this greaseball. I can’t remember when he dies, but I really hope it’s soon.

What is the “other” matter Reene and Elayne are talking about? Anyone? Bueller? I confess, I’m totally drawing a blank.

However, I am kind of brilliant in that, while I was initially equally puzzled over how the Borderlanders had learned that Elayne was with Rand in Falme (sort of), I suddenly remembered: Hurin, who entered Falme with Rand et al, but left with Verin and the Supergirls, and escorted them back to Tar Valon.

A-ha! See? Sometimes I are the most smartest.


Chapter 27: To Surprise Queens and Kings

What Happens
Merilille heads off, keeping a sharp eye out for Windfinders, and Aviendha and Birgitte (and later Caseille) gang up on Elayne, trying to convince her of the foolhardiness of going to Braem Wood herself. Elayne ignores them and starts composing a letter, while informing Birgitte that they will bring no escort; she is rather surprised that Mellar makes no objection to staying behind, and soon leaves. Birgitte eventually gives up and stalks out, and Elayne makes arrangements for the rest of the day’s obligations to be taken care of, and by noon she, Aviendha and Birgitte have Traveled to just outside the wood (Merilille was sent ahead with Elayne’s letter). Elayne is carefully dressed to present herself as Elayne Sedai of the Green Ajah, and not Elayne Trakand, Daughter-Heir of Andor. Aviendha and Birgitte are still muttering about foolishness; Elayne wants to know when they decided she was “made of blown glass”, and then suddenly realizes why.

“When my child is born,” she said dryly, “you can both apply to be her wet nurse.” If her child was “her.” If Min had said, it was lost in Aviendha and Birgitte’s wine-hazed memories of that night. It might be better to have a son first, so he could begin his training before his sister came. Yet a daughter secured the succession, while a lone son would be pushed aside, and as much as she wanted more than one, nothing said she would have another child. The Light send her more of Rand’s children, but she had to be practical. “I myself do not need a wet nurse.”

Aviendha’s sun-darkened cheeks turned darker with embarrassment. Birgitte’s expression did not change, yet the same emotion oozed along the Warder bond.

After two hours’ ride, they are greeted by a troop of Shienarans, whose leader offers King Easar’s assurances of her safety and an escort to camp; Elayne asks coolly if an Aes Sedai needs such reassurances from Shienarans, and accepts. Inside the camp, Elayne notes that the soldiers look lean but not starving yet, but knows they will have to move soon to stay that way, and thinks she just has to get them to move in the right direction. She sees no sign of the Aes Sedai with the army as they arrive at the command tent.

She could not allow them to see her as a supplicant. She was not here to beg, or to defend. Sometimes, Gareth Bryne had told her when she was a child, you find yourself outnumbered, with no path to slip away. Always do what your enemy least expects, Elayne. In that case, you must attack. From the start, she must attack.

Merilille is inside, along with a servant and the four Borderland rulers, and Elayne is pleased at the lack of pomp that would have been appropriate had they been meeting her as Daughter-Heir. Merilille introduces her as “Elayne Trakand, of the Green Ajah”; Easar, Paitar and Ethenielle greet her courteously, but Tenobia remarks bluntly to Merilille that Elayne looks more like a child than an Aes Sedai, and asks why she’s brought “a black-eyed Aiel” along. The other three monarchs are visibly annoyed, and Aviendha is confused, muttering that she never even saw black eyes on anyone except peddlers before coming to the wetlands. Elayne tells Tenobia it is enough to know she is Aes Sedai, and introduces Aviendha and Birgitte, naming the former her sister and the latter her Warder, which confuses the Borderlanders. Giving them no time to recover, Elayne immediately sits down and remarks that since “only a fool” would think they are here to invade Andor, they must be here because of the Dragon Reborn.

“You requested this audience with me because I was at Falme. The question is, why is that important to you? Do you think I can tell you more of what happened there than you already know? The Horn of Valere was sounded, dead heroes out of legend rode against Seanchan invaders, and the Dragon Reborn fought the Shadow in the sky for all to see. If you know that much, you know as much as I.”

Tenobia starts to splutter at the notion that they requested an audience with her, but the others shut her up. Ethenielle tells Elayne that it is what came of Falme that concerns them; they have marched all this way to find the Dragon Reborn, and cannot find him, and so have come to ask Elayne if she knows where he is. Elayne is relieved, thinking they would never have asked if they’d thought she and Rand were more than just friends, but stays on the offensive, pointing out they could have sent messengers to him (implying, “instead of a huge army”). Easar points out that the Last Battle will be fought in the Blight, and yet the Dragon Reborn has ignored the Borderlands completely; Aviendha sneers that the Car’a’carn decides where to dance the spears, not his followers, but everyone ignores her. Elayne asks if they have heard of the Tower’s proclamation regarding Rand; Paitar comments that as Elayne is Aes Sedai, surely approaching Rand through her counts as following the decree, but Tenobia retorts that the Tower is split, and demands to know if Elayne follows Elaida or the rebels. Merilille coolly replies that “the world seldom knows what it thinks it knows,” and Tenobia is reluctantly silenced. Elayne cautions herself that she must proceed as if she had already taken the Three Oaths, and answers Ethenielle’s question: she cannot tell them exactly where he is (which is technically true), but she will tell them what she does know if they agree to march south within a week. She points out that they will run out of food if they stay here anyway, and if they march south they will be marching toward the Dragon Reborn (also technically true). Paitar replies that they wish her well in her quest for Andor’s crown, but not enough to offer their men to fight for her; Elayne replies that she does not ask it, and in fact hopes they cross Andor “without so much as a skirmish.” Wryly, Ethenielle tells Paitar to think like a Southlander.

“They play the Game of Houses here, and I think she is being very clever at it. She should be, I suppose; I’ve always heard that Aes Sedai created Daes Dae’mar.”

“Think tactics, Paitar.” Easar was studying Elayne, wearing a small smile. “We move toward Caemlyn as invaders, so any Andoran will see it. Winter may be mild here, but we’ll still need weeks to ride that far. By the time we do, she will have rallied enough of the Andoran Houses against us, and to her, that she will have the Lion Throne, or near enough. At the least, enough strength will have been pledged to her that no one else will be able to stand long against her.” Tenobia shifted on her chair, frowning and adjusting her skirts, but there was a respect in her eyes when she looked at Elayne that had not been there before.

“And when we reach Caemlyn, Elayne Sedai,” Ethenielle said, “you will… negotiate… us into leaving Andor without a battle being fought.” That came out as not quite a question, but almost. “Very clever indeed.”

Easar points out that even bloodless battles seldom work to plan; Elayne acknowledges the point, but replies that she hopes they will work as hard as she to see it does. Tenobia suddenly asks if Elayne knows where her uncle Davram Bashere is; Elayne tells her Bashere is near Caemlyn at the moment, but cannot guarantee how long he will be there, and asks if they agree to her plan. After a long moment, all four rulers give their agreement, and Ethenielle asks for her part. Without hesitation, Elayne repeats that she cannot tell them exactly where Rand is, but that “a search in Murandy will be profitable, though.” To herself, she thinks it would be profitable to her, not them, as it might induce Arathelle and Luan and Pelivar to declare for Elayne now that Egwene’s army is gone to Tar Valon and no longer holding them in Murandy.

Except for Tenobia, the Borderlanders did not seem at all exultant over learning where to find Rand. Ethenielle let out a long breath, almost a sigh, and Easar simply nodded and pursed his lips in thought. Paitar drank down half his wine, the first real drink he had taken. It very much seemed that however much they wanted to find the Dragon Reborn, they were not looking forward to meeting him.

On leavetaking, Elayne ducks their question about Traveling, and they duck her question about Aes Sedai accompanying them, and Elayne’s party heads out. Merilille remarks Elayne is lucky they were Borderlanders, and thus “open and straightforward” and easy to deal with; Elayne finds this amusing, considering how much they had concealed, particularly why they wanted to find Rand so badly, but thinks that at least they would be moving away from him now, so she had time to warn him about them. She realizes how exhausted she is after creating the gateway back to outside Caemlyn; by the time they reach the Palace she has almost passed out in the saddle. Birgitte is carrying her into the Palace when Halwin Norry charges up; Birgitte and Aviendha try to fend him off, but Norry will not be deterred, and tells Elayne that word has arrived of four small armies, totaling between twenty and thirty thousand men, approaching Caemlyn from the east; they will arrive within the week. Elayne asks who they are, but Norry doesn’t know. Elayne pushes herself away from Birgitte and begins issuing orders to prepare for a siege.

There was no time for sleep, no time for weariness. She had a city to defend.

So, these chapters are really kind of irritating.

I think this is at least partly by design, because the POV character in them, Elayne, spends most of these chapters being irritated, and I don’t even really blame her for it, but that doesn’t address the problem of it being irritating to read.

My recently-delivered-of-a-child sister assures me that the things that are irritating Elayne in these chapters are totally true to form, too. The moment people find out you’re pregnant, she says, it’s like some switch is thrown and suddenly everyone’s all up on tippy-toe trying to protect you from the horrific dangers of things like walking or loud noises or cats or being within fifty feet of people even vaguely considering having a cocktail or thinking too hard and, she says, it gets really really old, fast.

It’s an instinctive propagating-the-species thing, this over-protectiveness, no doubt. Doesn’t make it any less annoying for the woman in question, though. Especially since, as I noted above, 90% of what people think you “should” do while pregnant amounts to a pile of half-assed bullshit. In My Opinion, Of Course.

Speaking of which, I kind of call shenanigans on Aviendha and Birgitte’s concern about Elayne drinking alcohol, because that strikes me as particularly anachronistic. In Ye Olden Times, especially, drinking wine was the thing because it was actually safer than drinking plain water, but even in Ye Slightly Newer Times, the whole “alcohol + pregnancy = DOOOOM” thing only took hold in the last fifty years or so. People in the nineteen thirties were all guzzling martinis and smoking like chimneys while pregnant, so I’m a bit skeptical that the vaguely-17th-century-ish Randland would be more enlightened in this regard.

I kind of also call shenanigans on Aviendha not remembering that Min had mentioned twins, because that happened before they got stinking drunk, and in my experience being stinking drunk only makes you lose time during the stinking drunkenness stage, not from before it.

Not, of course, that I have any experience with being stinking drunk. This is just what I hear. Ahem.

(How did this entire commentary become about alcohol?)

Anyway. But then, Aviendha and Birgitte were also distracted at the time by the accidental peeping-tomness going on, so, whatever, I guess.

As to the actual significant thing that happened in this chapter, I remember that at first I was really rather angry at Elayne for misdirecting the Borderlanders so blatantly—just on principle, firstly, but also because it was for such self-serving reasons. But then Elayne herself reminded me that yeah, we’re supposed to be on Rand’s side in this, and she was doing it to protect him as much as she was to further her own goals—which, by the way, may be technically self-serving but I think you probably get some leeway on that when you’re trying to prevent civil war in your country, so maybe I should shut up.

So yeah, I get why she did it and even agree with her reasons. Still, I just hate when (Light-side) people lie to each other in WOT, because it almost invariably turns out to suck for everyone involved. Lying is definitely not a rewarded behavior in this series, let’s just say. Not to mention, this scheme of hers is hair-raisingly risky. Inviting two hundred thousand foreign soldiers to fake an invasion of your own country? Yeek doesn’t even quite cover it.

Easar’s point about Rand totally ignoring the Borderlands is understandable from his point of view, I guess, but I personally completely get why Rand would have chosen to leave them till last. Of all the nations, after all, the Borderlands are by FAR the most prepared already to deal with the Last Battle. In fact, the only way they’ve indicated they need Rand’s intervention is the rulers haring off to find him instead of protecting the Blight like they’re supposed to!

Oh, the irony.

And oh, the end of the post! Enjoy your weekend, kiddies, and keep an eye out for fun stuff on your horizon. We out!

1. Tenesmus

2. torgo02
Thanks again for your insightful reread Leigh.
Bret Scott
3. BlacksmithButNotEmo
Leigh, this entire commentary became about alcohol when you realized you needed anesthetic to get through it. The whole Suck-session thread (pun most definitely intended) hones the speedreader in me...
4. Tenesmus
"the other thing" I believe was Renee looking for someone capable of following Dav "the Greaseball" Hanlon around without getting killed
Neill Smith
5. Lensman2
Did anyone besides me think that the Borderlander rulers were being particularly stupid when they bought into

Elayne repeats that she cannot tell them exactly
where Rand is, but that “a search in Murandy will be profitable,

I remember first reading that "profitable" statement years ago, and I think it fairly screams of "Aes Sedai double speak". I would have expected at least one of the rulers to follow up with some rather pointed questions.
6. buckybadger
wasn't the "other thing" rooting out spies in the palace?
Daniel Goss
7. Beren
I don't know if we're supposed to be in on the joke, but I seem to remember later when she gets a midwife (like the Wise Ones told her to) the midwife takes her off of the bland stuff and makes her eat in a much healthier manner.
For what it's worth.
Scientist, Father
8. Silvertip
At this point in pregnancy (if I have the chronology right, Elayne's less than 3 months in), the appropriate thing to eat is: whatever will stay down. Ah, I remember the days of climbing in the car at 1:00 a.m. and heading to Taco Bell, as my wife (who normally eats extremely extremely healthily) proclaimed that some refried beans with cheese was the only thing she could stand. She ate three.

And the being-overprotected-to-the-point-of-invasion thing is bang on realistic, for RL in the 21st century anyway.

As I remember, a little later on a Real Midwife shows up and completely pooh-poohs the bland diet thing, which is cool.

Isn't Hanlon still alive as of the end of KoD, just imprisoned and not taking it well?


OK, @7 Beren beat me to it.
Jeff Soules
9. DeepThought
Re: Manetheren, there's also the whole issue that it would be really, really bad for Elayne's glorious reign over Andor (which, let's face it, as AS? Could probably be a couple hundred years) if she started out by losing a huge chunk of territory. It's not the sort of thing that inspires tremendous confidence. Maybe she could consider releasing them as a vassal state or something . . . but I suspect there's much more important issues shortly at foot as far as the series goes.

Re: the pregnancy advice, I just assumed that it was supposed to be a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, as flavor and as an indication that Randland's as full of people's crazy opinions as anywhere else. At least nobody suggested she go on a raw-food diet. But maybe it's harder to poison bland food?

I remember finding all the political maneuvering in this plotline & these chapters much more comprehensible on my second read-through of the series. It also didn't hurt that I'd learned more about the importance of geography in general, and constantly referencing maps when you don't already know the relative locations in particular. See, I did learn something in college!
John Massey
10. subwoofer
Yay! Soooo can we talk about the other chapter here?

I mean, I'm okay talking about Elayne and her dietary needs an all. I could discuss it over a cup of goat's milk:P

Anyways... theme here is one that is going to be revisited at least one more time- by Nynaeve. You can never, truely, go back home. All the changes Egwene sees, her wondering about her father, I think it is a coming of age thing. Egg's reflects on how everyone could not grasp her coming back as Amyrlin. Heck, I am still wrapping my mind around it.4

@Torie- why o' why does it have to be

11. alreadymadwithnewpost
Way to go!

Beren @7
Yep. A real honest-to-goodness midwife got her out of the diet and into something healthy.
Michael McCarthy
12. KilMichaelMcC
A reader forgetting about Hurin, is of course, understandable.

Elayne forgetting about Hurin, on the other hand, is another one of those cases of plot-induced amnesia that I have difficulty swallowing. If you travelled pratically across an entire continent in the company of only five other people, is it really all that likely you would just up and forget that one of them even existed?
Daniel Goss
13. Beren
Re: other chapter.

I never really liked this one. I got the feeling from the way that it was written that this was supposed to be something of a MOA for Elayne being Aes Sedai to her toenails or something, manipulating rulers and such, but . . . Idunno. Maybe it's what Leigh said that the whole "Elayne is irritated" thing rubs me the wrong way, but I cannot feel anything but a heartfelt "meh" for this chapter.

Yes, I'm saying that amateur midwifery is more exciting to me than political intrigue. Cue self reflection . . . now.
*edit for spelling. TOR-ey spelling? No.
Thomas Keith
14. insectoid
Great post as always, Leigh!

Ch. 26: ::Yawn:: (Except that the word mollycoddling makes me chuckle. And Mellar: EURGH.)

Oh yeah... Hurin! Forgot about him.

Ch. 27: Also ::Yawn:: (Though, misdirection FTW!)

::waves at Torie::

Beren @7: I believe you're right, but I would have to go look to make sure.

Kurt Lorey
15. Shimrod
Two points re: the post.

One, I don't think Egwene knows about the triple bonding. That tidbit is yet to come.

Two, Mellar ain't quite dead yet.

And finally, Pictures of Torie being stern are scary! rofl
John Massey
16. subwoofer
So.... lemme get this straight- we didn't have to read these chapters because you did it for us?


What was I thinking? I muddled through these chapters over 3 nights because they kept on putting me to sleep.

I can see somebody getting territorial re- Two Rivers being part of Andor- if somebody stole an acre off my back 40, albeit swampland I'd still be annoyed enough about it. At least give me more coin than the $24 that changed hands for the purchase of Manhattan.

And Leigh- I call shenanigans!

Not, of course, that I have any experience with being stinking drunk. This is just what I hear.

Am now looking for incriminating photos on the net.

Justin Vickers
17. ScoundrelTheToy
Egwene most certainly does not know thanks to Aes Sedai customs. The scene with Monalle and Sumeko later when they're doing 'caress the child' and learn there are chins is when Rand starts that cleansing. Elayne's comments about it knowing it's Rand and therefore good and Monalle picks up on this because Avienda told the Wise Ones about the nature of their bond to Rand, whereas Elayne won't report it to her superiors (Egwene) or any Aes Sedai is just a point driven home by Robert Jordan on the degredation of Aes Sedai culture in comparison to the Wise Ones. Another point in favor of Wise Ones in other words!
Marcus W
18. toryx
I'm reluctant to get sucked back in at this juncture because I flaming hate these Elayne chapters but...well, I flaming hate these Elayne Chapters.

Chapter 26

1. I completely agree with Leigh's comment about Elayne's attitude of Andor suddenly wanting the toy they never played with back. See, the reason people pay taxes is for protection from outside forces. That's why you're part of a nation. Now suddenly, after abandoning the Two Rivers to deal with their own problems for generations (especially lately) she's griping about them claiming their own nation and providing their own methods of protection? Bad, Elayne, very bad. Grrr!

2. The only thing worse than Elayne's complete lack of responsibility for her health while carrying those children is the way everyone's treating her. With friends like hers, who needs the enemies camped at the gates to Caemlyn?

3. Mellar is like Elayne's very own version of Rand's Black Tower. One hugely dumb decision after another. I can understand her wanting to deflect attention away from Rand as the possible father; that makes sense. But then, it also makes sense for her not to go and get herself pregnant at this particular juncture. And it especially makes sense for her not to let stories flying around about her being loose with a particularly vulgar character. What the hell was she thinking? She might as well by painting herself as her mother's daughter all over again and that's certainly not going to make people comfortable about supporting her.

Chapter 27

Actually, I don't have much of an opinion about Chapter 27. The Borderlanders are proving themselves to be idiots. Elayne is irritated. And yeah, the objection to alcohol thing doesn't make any sense. Not a chapter that particularly interested me.
19. Nipper
And the drinking during a pregnancy is totally overblown. I drank every day my wife was pregnant.
Ron Garrison
20. Man-0-Manetheran
Nothing about these chapters is particularly noteworthy to me either. And if I recall, probably only Elayne, Morgase and Thom even remember the Two Rivers is technically part of Andor. "Got along without you before I met you; gonna get along without you now."
Tai'Shar Manetheren!™
Ben Goodman
21. goodben
Re: Manetheren

If I were the Queen of Andor, the main thing I would be worried about regarding the specter of Manetheren would be losing the mines in the Mountains of Mist which are not that far from the Three Rivers. I don't recall from the BBoBA whether Baerlon and environs were in Manetheren, but it could be a real problem for Andor if the new Kingdom gobbled them up.
Brandon Daggerhart
22. BDaggerhart
@18 toryx

1. I completely agree with Leigh's comment about Elayne's attitude of Andor suddenly wanting the toy they never played with back. See, the reason people pay taxes is for protection from outside forces. That's why you're part of a nation. Now suddenly, after abandoning the Two Rivers to deal with their own problems for generations (especially
lately) she's griping about them claiming their own nation and providing their own methods of protection? Bad, Elayne, very bad. Grrr!

I find that to be a particularly astute observation. As you said, the purpose of paying taxes is so that the government to whom those taxes are being paid will offer certain benefits - protection, running water, whatever. If the tax collectors stop showing up, and then that province far away had to fend for itself against hordes of monsters that
should have been under the jurisdiction and protection of said government, then I believe a little banner-raising (or rebellion, as is wont to be called oft-times) is only proper.

And that "other thing" Elayne was asking about - I don't think it's Meller. I don't think they have a lot of reason to be following Meller yet, right? Doesn't he later do something to actually make them suspicious?

Perhaps it has something to do with the Black Ajah member within their midsts, or even the other Aes Sedai out in the city?
Daniel Goss
23. Beren
Since these seem to be fairly blah chapters . . .
I've been trying to come up with a list of 'theme songs' for the members of Team Dark. So far I have:
The Dark One
"Say My Name" by Destiny's Child
"Lyin Eyes" by The Eagles
"Crazy in Love" by Beyonce (stolen shamelessly from an earlier thread)
"Caught in a Trap" by Elvis

And that's all I've got. So far. Suggestions? More interesting topics? Something to get us through the weekend please?
24. pro_star
I think they were creeping on Meller before he really raised suspicions...sadly, I'm doing a series re-read myself preparing for ToM, and I only just finished Lord of Chaos...eep!

subwoofer - I'm almost afraid to ask where you came up with that picture lol
25. Dholton
Just fyi for all you WOTers, evidently the code quest Brandon Sanderson has been running has been solved, and a chapter of ToM is now unencrypted and available for reading on his website at
John Massey
27. subwoofer

I googled "leigh butler drunk" for images and that is one of the ones that came up. I can see it happen, I mean after all, there is a leprechaun...

Tyler Durden
28. Balance
@Sub, and the winner for best post goes to.....

These chapters feel like filer for me too. Thank God for the re-read doing the heavy lifting.

On another note: The Mat chapter linked above is actually very good. I was one who felt that BS didn't quite get the Mat voice down on his first few tries. However, this chapter feels right. The humor was good. I actually LOL'ed a few times from it. If he writes Mat like this for all of ToM I will be very pleased.
Justin Levitt
29. TyranAmiros
goodben@21: I was about to post the same thing. Early books suggested Andor had a choice about sending the Queen's Guard to Baerlon or the Two Rivers, and the mines were more important than sheep and tabac. Absent The End Of The World, it's much more likely that Elayne would make Perrin the Lord of the Two Rivers, giving him as fief the land of the Two Rivers, and making House Goldeneyes one of Andor's Houses.

But this points to my problem with the whole Succession plotline. All these nobles are jockeying for position (including Elayne) when there may not be a position to jockey for in a few months. The world, including Andor, is falling apart around you, and all you care about is whether House-So-and-So has enough seats for the throne. When hordes of trollocs or Seanchan attack Caemlyn, whether some flag was raised in Emond's Field won't matter.
Elena Vaccaro
30. EarthandIce
As one who has had children, yes other people can come up with the craziest things for a pregnant woman. When I was pregnant with my 2nd child, my older sister wanted me to stop carrying my first around. I did for a week, then went back to it because my back was hurting.

That is not an excuse for everyone in the Palace to keep Elayne from eating real food. Yes a woman is supposed to gain some weight, about 20 lbs. or so. Not much more. But to be fed, well, what I read sounded more like what the prisoners got in the dungeon. Elayne should have thrown a hissy fit to get real food.

As far as the alcohol’s effects on fetuses, the more the woman drinks the more the harm to the unborn child. I have met people who's mothers went through their pregnancy drinking way too much. There was enough brain damage to notice.

When I was pregnant with my first two, I did drink
occasionally, not more that about three times a month and both of those children always scored off the charts. Both went into the Navy, and the second was being recruited for the nuclear program. She went Computers.

And yes I agree with Leah’s assessment of Elayne’s attitude toward Manetheren. The Three Rivers were left to their own devices for generations. Granted when you look at the geography there are not many way for a conventional invading army to reach them, still.

Ya! Bug have been fixed! I was able to paste from Word.

Oh, that picture looks like a St. Patty's Day gone really bad!!
Or is that you in the pic Sub? :} {Really evil grin!!}
John Massey
32. subwoofer

You don't like my cleavage?

Mat had a look

*whistles innocently*

Leigh Butler
34. leighdb

Um, that is most certainly not me.
35. R2D2
Hmm - "magical restraining bolts" - points or demerits for mixing Star Wars with the Wheel of Time?

Then again, I have to figure out how to work "magical restraining bolts" into a conversation.
Elena Vaccaro
37. EarthandIce
If the comment que liked You-Tube posts, I would go find that racey theme for strippers. Or the one for Zigfield's Follies. Unfortunately, the powers that be ( or PTB) do not.

Rats, now I have to go find some Anne McCaffrey books.
38. alreadymadwiththeredeagle
toryx @18
I guess you can't really blame Elayne if Mannetheren has slightly better prestige than Andor.
Man-o-Manetheran @20
Even Morgase acknowledged that Two Rivers folk hardly considered themselves part of Andor. This was way back EoTW when she and Rand first met. Although, she still threw a fit when she saw the Red Eagle banner.
TankSpill @22
Well, we do find later that they've been sending people out to follow Mellar, and that the people they send keep ending up dead.
Thomas Keith
39. insectoid
Sub @27: That was very naughty of you. ::rolls eyes::

Captain Hammer
40. Randalator
subwoofer @16

Nice optical illusion. If you stare at the picture long enough you can see a small guy in a green suit.
Sam Mickel
41. Samadai

Hmmm, I have been staring at it for awhile and never noticed the guy in the green suit.
42. Adam E.
What I hate about Elayne lying to the Borderlanders is that she's proud because she does so without lying to them directly, keeping in line with the Three Oaths. It's good that she's on Rand's side and all, and I'm cool with that, but I really dislike the Aes Sedai's attitude towards deception and misdirection, and how it doesn't bother them that they break their oath by deliberating misleading people. They deserve all the mistrust people give them.
Heidi Byrd
43. sweetlilflower
A better song for Lanfear is The Stalker Song "Every Breath You Take" by Sting
"I'll be watching you..."

Other than that, I'm glad Leigh had to read these chapters instead of me. But, yes, people come up with all kinds of weird and stupefying advice for ladies in a delicate way.
@Nipper: LOL!!!! I'm sure my husband would agree with you! I don't know haw many times I made him go to Kroger at all hours of the night to buy me fresh pineapple and he had to search all over for Andy Capp's Hot Fries. The poor man, I had some odd cravings.
Tricia Irish
44. Tektonica
Leigh...thank you so much for doing the heavy lifting, so I don't have to. These particular chapters are real snooze material.

I agree about Elayne wanting Manatheren when Andor hasn't paid any attention to them for don't know what you've got til it's gone.

Very bad pregnancy diet, indeed. Variety is the spice of life, and provides a diversity of healthful ingredients. Elayne should've raised a fuss, but if I remember correctly, most food was pretty revolting for the first three months anyway. Meh.

I understand what Elayne is doing with the Borderlanders to further her own cause, by appearing very powerful and the savior of Andor, and I get why she is sending them away from Rand, bless her......

What I still don't understand is why they left the Borderlands undefended by taking 200,000 troops with them out of the Borderlands when it nearly TG. WHY? Who induced them to do this? The thirteen Aes Sedai probably sent by Alviarin? What do they need an army with them for, exactly? Why not an ambassadorial mission that could've moved much more swiftly and efficiently? I call shennanigans. Thoughts anyone?

Beren@23: Good titles!

Sub: You, sir, are a rascal!
Captain Hammer
45. Randalator
Samadai @41 have to squint, and sorta tilt your head...
Robbie Olson
46. RobbieOlson
Well, Ima have to go ahead and disagree with, well, just about everyone. I think Elayne was perfectly justified in her Menetheren anger.
The main argument I'm seeing (I will admit to a little comment skimming, whoops) is that the Two Rivers has stopped paying taxes and therefor has lost Andor's protection, so she doesn't really have a right to it anymore anyway. Besides, if there's no taxes, she's not getting anything, right?
Well, like I said, Ima have to disagree, on both those fronts.

They may not pay taxes, but if, say, Ghealdan had invaded the Two Rivers, do you think Morgase would have hesitated a second dispatching troops? No. Why? Well, I always imagined she had a fondness for the Two Rivers, based on EoTW when she meets Rand, but even if she doesn't, it would still be a challenge to her sovereignty. It would send the message that foreign powers could taker her territory without fear of retribution. And isn't Elayne currently fighting a war specifically to prove her own sovereignty?She doubly can't allow such a challenge to happen now.

If anything the Two Rivers had a win-win. No taxes, but the Queen woulda still sent some soldiers if thing went badly.

Now of course, the counter argument would be trollocs. Well, remember this far south many people don't believe in trollocs, as we saw in EoTW in Whitebridge. And on Winternight, only Emonds Field (and a few surrounding farms) were hit. Remember how Devon Ride was still happily partying when they galloped by? So the rumors would have been disbelieved even by the other Two Rivers folk! Not to mention as far away as Caemlyn. And if Morgas had heard "trollocs in Two Rivers" she woulda dont the math of all the leagues from the Borderlands to the Two Rivers, factored in the lack of other rumors, and discounted it as fancy.
And the more recent trollocs, remember the Whitecloaks+Fain kept anyone from leaving the Two Rivers, even Tinkers, precisely because they didn't want any word to get out. Why would they have done that if they thought Morgase wouldn't have sent an army?
Plus, Morgase was a little bit mind-controlled at the time.

What I'm trying to say is, Andor's failure to help the Two Rivers didn't stem from the lack of taxes being payed, but rather from the Shadow being a jerk.

goodben up there brought up a good point of the Mountains of Mist having mines. As I recall, it was mentioned several times that the reason Andor's coins are the most valuable was because of those mines. But would they have joined Menetheren?
Well, lets take a look at Perrin. Remember when he went to meet Alliandre, and he was all like "I promise I'm not trying to steal your country?" Well, that, to me, points to how much power Menetheren's name had. If Aliandre could have feared losing her whole kingdom (which she gave him anyway, but details details, right?), then I think Elayne fearing losing the mines is reasonable.
And also remember that Perrin used the name of menetheren to barter with teh seanchan. They've been outta the picture for a THOUSAND YEARS and they're still like "uh oh"
And the final point I want to bring up is, Two Rivers Tabac. Even the Aiel were like "omg, best ever" And since the only way in and out of the Two Rivers is through Taren Ferry, and thus the rest of Andor, Elayne gets tarifs and taxes and other economicy things on it. Taxes on a commodity everyone wants? that everyone agrees is the best? Even if she lost only that, she would be right in being peeved.
However, much I love Perrin and want him to be a King (a lot), it doesn't mean that Elayne isn't gonna get mad about it, with good reason.
Valentin M
47. ValMar
Recapping these chapters is a real public service Leigh, thanks!
Re: Manetheren. I agree with the general attitude and sympathy for the TR.
OTOH, things look a bit different from the point of view of the ruler of the country. Besides the hard fact of the Baerlon Mines and the fact that a future Manetheren may take them over there are other issues. One is the personal arrogance and feeling of entitlement a monarch felt towards his/her territory. Other is prestige- no sooner Elayne takes the crown and a mighty hero sets up a famous old realm on her teritory.
As to the simple point of fairness (i.e. not protecting TR but insisting they remain subject to the Andoran Crown)- Rulers not always took good care of some parts of their countries, but didn't just let them go independent. Without a fight.

I could go on about the pros and cons of much heavier settled and organised TR for Andor but it's Friday night, I'm already compromising my social image, and no one will read it.
48. jlarke
If you think the royal family of Andor is overreacting to the name of Manetheren, read this:

Greece got all bent out of shape because some other people, in land Greece never controlled, want to give their country a name that one part of Greece had once. It harms nobody and poses no direct challenge to the Greek government's control of its land, but they object to even the appearance of a sovereign nation called Macedonia. Governments get really excited about this stuff.

Truth may or may not be stranger than fiction, but it does get a lot more overwrought.
Valentin M
49. ValMar
lol, it always gives me a little chuckle, the Macedonia name nonsense. Hopefully no Greeks are reading this blog comments or we'll never hear the end of it. The citizens of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia aren't being particularly clever about it too.
Daniel Goss
50. Beren
More titles
"Master of Puppets" by Metallica
"What do I Do Right?" by Jimmy's Chicken Shack

Roger Powell
51. forkroot
"I Will Survive" (Gloria Gaynor)
Scientist, Father
52. Silvertip
Theme songs?

Ishamael (historical version) -- "Sympathy for the Devil"

Halima -- Oh, the possibilities are endless. The Kinks, Aerosmith, Richard Thompson-- too easy. Or maybe, speaking of the Stones, "Under My Thumb."

Demandred -- "Everybody Wants to Rule the World."

Slayer -- "Mack the Knife."

Lanfear/"Selene" -- "Devil With a Blue Dress On"

Scott Terrio
53. Renegade248
"Witchy Woman" (Eagles)

"Gold dust woman" (Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac)

Not much to say on these chapters though. Having fun with the theme songs though. :)
John Massey
54. subwoofer
Mat- If You Want Blood

55. cleopatra2525
Lanfear's theme song should be "Don't You Want Me" by the Human League!
"You know I don't believe you when you say that you don't need me..."
57. TimBuktu
From a logistics/starving standpoint, the 200,000 number is not at all realistic. When McClellan brought his army up the Virginia Peninsula in 1862, they consumed over 600 tons of supplies a day, and that was for only about 120,000 men. With no railroads, steamers, etc., there's absolutely no way the Borderlanders could have kept their men supplied, especially when they were marching through hundreds of miles of unsettled, unorganized lands before reaching Andor.
John Massey
58. subwoofer
Yay! Tom Waits FTW!

@Tek- yes I am, that is why I am not on face book. There would be too much damning evidence.

Edit- @Man-O- after much pondering gonna have to reconsider and go with the obvious.

Daniel Goss
59. Beren
I can't believe all those luck songs and no "Luck be a Lady." His two favorite things in one song!
Debbie Solomon
61. dsolo
Love the theme songs. How about "Black Magic Woman" for Alviarin or any of the Black Ajah.
Ron Garrison
62. Man-0-Manetheran
I had to stop somewhere Beren, but that's a good one!
Scientist, Father
63. Silvertip
Oh, good guys too?

Lan -- Theme from "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly"

Luke M
64. lmelior
The "no alcohol whatsoever" overreaction is already going away. There is evidence that drinking red wine in moderation (2-3 glasses a week) is not only good for you both in general and during pregnancy, but also good for the baby. Both my wife and some friends of ours heard as much from their doctors (my second is 2 months old now).
65. alreadymadwithnotAndor
RobbieOlson @46
It's not as if the Two Rivers deliberately stopped paying taxes. The Lion Throne itself or its tax collection agency stopped collection. And this wasn't a recent occurrence. This was over 4 or 5 generations that tax collectors stopped going there, that any sort of public work or development was funded by the Crown, or that any of the Queen's Guard went there. You might say, it's as if Andor itself forgot it had holdings there. Even Morgase agreed the Two Rivers did not really think themselves Andormen, with the kind of humor that indicates it's also partly the Crown's fault.

As for the Seanchan, the reason the Manetheren Claim was such a big deal to them is that Manetheren predates Hawkwing's empire. If they are justified in their claim to restore an empire a thousand years gone, then Manetheren had an even more powerful claim.
Debbie Solomon
66. dsolo
Thanks Dholton@25 for the heads up on the ToM chapter. Loved it. Mat's back! All I could think of at the end of it was, dun-dun-DUN! Isn't it November yet?

Also, on a completely unrelated topic - Fetal Alcohol Syndrome occurs when women drink too much during pregnancy or drink during a crucial developmental stage in the first trimester. Since no one knows exactly when that is, it's better to avoid alcohol while the little bits and bobs are forming (speaking as a neonatal nurse). Same goes for drugs (including over the counter), excessive caffeine and cigarettes. And a healthy, varied diet is better.
John Massey
67. subwoofer
@AMW65- yeah, I can get that. Why not resurrect Manetheran? Perrin fights it every step of the way, in typical stubborn Manetheran fashion, but it is ingrained in TR DNA. I think when empires are crumbling because of Seanchan hegemony or when the Blight claims them, Manetheran glory can come back.

Michael Johnson
68. twosheddz
Oh no! I read the ToM chapter. Now I've got a feva'. It can only be cured with... more Towers of Midnight!! Now I'm going to be staring at my kindle on that midnight, waiting for the download icon to start.
69. AndrewB
Halima's theme song: Lola.

Perrin's theme song: Hungry like the Wolf.

Ishy's theme song: Born to be Wild

Another theme song for Mat: Los Vargos by Green Apple Quickstep (this song was on the Basketball Diaries sountrack). It is about gambling.

Yet another theme song for Mat (and probably better than Los Vargos): Luck be a Lady Tonight.

KilMichaelMcC @12: Why would Elayne know that Hurin was with the Borderland armies (and thus, the source of their knowledge that Elayne was at Falme)? Once Hurin left the Supergirls at Tar Valon in TDR, Elayne had no further contact with Hurin. In fact, she has had no reason to think about him.

Thanks for reading my musings.
Lindy Brown
70. lbrown
@26. MasterAlThor & 27. subwoofer

That doesn't look like Leigh to me.
Barry T
71. blindillusion
Here is a song for some spects of Rand, namely his time in tGS: [url=] A Perfect Circle - The Noose.

72. Wortmauer
Good analogy, Leigh, on Morgase and Elayne getting worked up about the Red Eagle banner. Children whining about losing a toy they never played with, indeed.

It's not like there aren't whole other swathes of unclaimed territory sitting there for Andor to expand into if it feels like it!

Quite so. And this is why I never understood why any of Randland's border disputes make any sense. Why does Andor care that much about the Murandy border? Why do Tear and Illian have trouble getting along? They've even got a wide strip of no-man's land! And why on earth would Tarabon and Arad Doman "squabble" over Almoth Plain?
For that matter, if I were an Aiel Wise One dreamwalker, I'd take a stroll through tel'aran'rhiod and notice all that mostly empty space in the Caralain Grass, and decide it's high time to move out of that bloody Three-Fold Land.

Easar points out that the Last Battle will be fought in the Blight, and yet the Dragon Reborn has ignored the Borderlands completely; Aviendha sneers that the Car'a'carn decides where to dance the spears, not his followers, but everyone ignores her.

Aaaaand I think Aviendha just slipped and admitted that she actually does believe in the Last Battle. That, by the way, is something I really hate about the Aiel. Their pointed view that only the Car'a'carn and the Prophecy of Rhuidean matter to them, the rest is mere "wetlander prophecy" and has no bearing on the Aiel. Hello? Do they really think the Last Battle and the Dark One breaking free will just skip over the Aiel because the Aes Sedai in Rhuidean didn't happen to mention them? Even Sorilea, who's pretty smart, makes this point, when Cadsuane is discussing Rand with her. Cadsuane mentions the Dragon and Sorilea, on cue, says "That's no part of our prophecy, but, about the Car'a'carn...."
I suppose it's part and parcel with the rest of the Aiel's insular worldview, wetlanders and their traditions and received wisdom and prophecies can't possibly matter, but really, do they have to do this every. single. time? "So about the Last Battle--" "We don't believe in any of that, since the Aes Sedai at Rhuidean don't seem to have mentioned it in our Ancestatron. Maybe the wetlanders will have a Last Battle, but all we're gonna have is whatever the Car'a'carn leads us to. Nothing to do with you guys, no sir, no how. Sightblinder wants to break free, you say? That's not really our problem either, that's a wetlander concern, the Ancestatron didn't mention it. So I'm sure he and his bubbles of evil will leave the Three-Fold Land alone. I mean if any of that mattered, surely those ancient Aes Sedai would have happened to Foretell it that day in Rhuidean. If the Car'a'carn wants us to car' one carn about Shayol Ghul, maybe he can have us dance some spears up there."
Jason Deshaies
73. darxbane
I can see why the no alcohol during pregnancy knowledge would seem strange, but remember that, while the technology and governing styles are akin to the 1700's, this world is actually in a post-apocalyptic time frame. It's quite plausible that the dangers of alcohol during pregnancy was well known during the AoL, and the practice survived as a tradition or even a superstition that just happens to be correct.
Chris Chaplain
74. chaplainchris1
Yay, stuff to talk about! Let's see, just looking at Leigh's commentary so far, though I'm sure other people have chimed in:

Egwene still doesn't know about the triple-bonding, and I'm not sure why. Elayne's full AS, so she's allowed to bond who she chooses; Egwene knows Elayne bonded Birgitte as an Accepted, doesn't she? Surely that's no more likely to get her in trouble than sharing the bond with two non-AS? Well...maybe that will get her in trouble, I'm sure the conservative AS (90% of 'em) will have conniptions. But. It seems likely that Elayne et al are keeping the secret to protect Rand from the AS, moreso than to protect themselves from penance and such.

If so, go Elayne, I guess...though really it'd be nice for all of Team Light to know the three people who can a) track Rand, and b) be used against Rand most effectively. I mean, imagine if Rand had been carried off to Shayol Ghul by Semirhage, and Aviendha hadn't been on hand to track him...Team Light would have had zero chance, as opposed to just a really, really, really tiny chance.

On Manetheren - I imagine it's something like, it's ok for us to be lax, but it's not ok for someone else. Kind of like failing to defend a trademark. :) If you let it go, you've got potential rebellion all over.

Mellar: is a bug. The roach-y makes your skin crawl kind.

Mysterioso other matter: no idea at the moment.

Hurin as the source of the Falme info: good call, Leigh! Prior to that, I was thinking of this as evidence supporting the idea that Team Dark is using the Borderlanders. (Which might still be true, but at least this isn't evidence of it. And Hurin would surely smell the Forsaken? Unless their hands are clean of recent direct atrocities, maybe - since Demandred can't be proven to have done anything in the series but posture annoyingly.)

About Elayne's baby, and the exceedingly annoying rumor that it's Mellar's; I find it interesting that in Andor (and maybe Randland in general) "legitimate" birth doesn't seem to be an issue, since Elayne thinks a daughter will secure the succession.

Re: the horrific dangers of pregnancy - cats are dangerous. Dogs are much better. Cats carry hay fever and puffy red eyes and sneezing. And evil. (So my mom taught me, it's not my fault.)

I like the 2nd chapter. I like the effectiveness of Elayne's plan here, and the fact that the Borderland rulers twig to what she's doing and go along with it (and respect Elayne for it) makes the lying more acceptable to me. The Borderland rulers, being rulers, apparently get the needs which drive Elayne to use what tools she has to prevent civil war. And as for the risk involved, well, Elayne's the closest they're going to get to a legitimate authority who can ok them entering Andor; and if by entering they help make her authority more legitimate, that makes THEM as well as Andor safer.

And back to the lying thing for a minute - we don't KNOW that people on Team Light are lying to each other, here. Granted, we know Hurin's a good guy, but neither we nor Elayne know that Hurin's there at this point, and he's not the policymaker anyway. I'm inclined to trust all Borderlanders, Shienarans & Easar especially, given Agelmar's behavior in bks 1 and 2. I'm also inclined to trust Ethenielle due to her long-ago POV. But we've seen DFs in the Borderlands, for sure, and in any case a Forsaken could manipulate them all. Their agenda toward Rand is unknown, and they conceal the presence of AS among them, and Elayne's right to misdirect them until she can warn Rand. (After all, if Rand wants to see them, he can do so at a moment's notice.)

The only real complaint is that, for the time spent on it here, there's virtually no pay-off, and Elayne's ploy does almost nothing to help her cause. (Ok, it drives the last few to her at the end of Knife of Dreams, but only after all the pointless politicking and fighting.)

Pregnancy diet: it seems like Elayne eventually (and against her will) gets a midwife, who overturns all this bunk advice and starts her on a better path. (I remember b/c the midwife smells and tastes Elayne' pee, which really grosses me out. Sorry to be all 12 and all about it. ) I think RJ wants us amused by the fact that both Elayne AND her advisors are equally clueless. Again, that theme of people believing and acting on (and arguing about) information that is wrong on both sides.
Chris Chaplain
75. chaplainchris1
Re: the genesis of Mellar suspicion. I didn't get this on my first read, but in subsequent re-reads it's clear that Elayne and Co. (Nynaeve, Birgitte, Avi) are suspicious of him from day one, due to the very convenient rescue and the straight-from-a-gleeman's-tale circumstances of it. Elayne appoints him to a position in her guard to keep an eye on the enemy you know, and to follow him (while the subsequent deaths of those tailing Mellar makes them even more suspicious).
76. Freelancer

Alcohol is never good for a gestating baby. Anything that might supposedly be good from red wine can be gotten by eating fresh grapes, and several orders of magnitude stronger by eating certain sub-species of muscat grapes.
Chris Chaplain
77. chaplainchris1
Just read the TOM! After about 3 paragraphs, the Mat-tone did indeed feel right; I had several laugh-out-loud moments; the sudden upsurge of tension in the middle caught me off guard, and I found myself reading much faster for a bit; I was nicely satisfied by a nice moment; and then the sudden tension at the end! All without spoilers!

Wow. I hate October for getting in the way of November.
Scientist, Father
78. Silvertip
The evidence that heavy or regular alcohol during pregnancy is harmful is strong and unequivocal. The evidence that moderate consumption is a risk for various things is shaky but worth taking seriously -- a drink 2 or 3 times a week is more than I personally would suggest, although I can't prove the point. In contrast, there is essentially no evidence that an occasional drink -- a glass of wine when you manage to make it to a nice restaurant, say -- is a problem. It's not impossible that this lack of evidence is just because the data are hard to get, but there are also sensible physiological reasons to suspect that alcohol risks are a threshold effect -- that is, that the risk from 1 percent of a known harmful dose is not down by 99 percent, but is zero. The answer isn't definitive, and isn't likely to be in the near future.

The medical profession in the U.S., legitimately concerned about the very real risks, has chosen to simplify the message to "never ever, not even one." I understand why this was done, but I can't agree with playing into Americans' tendency to dichotomous (binge or abstinence) thinking on this one. It has created a situation where people feel that they have permission to, say, interrupt some poor woman at a restaurant and tell her off for hurting her baby, when she's doing no such thing. The general idea that a pregnant woman gives up her autonomy and her own judgment seems to be gaining strength, and IMHO can be quite harmful.

All that said, the "red wine is good for you" business might or might not hold up. It's gotten more play than it really deserves so far, mostly because of the man-bites-dog nature of the story. I would never suggest that someone have a drink for the supposed health benefits when they wouldn't have otherwise, and I say this as a fan of a good pinot noir.

I've been told (by midwives!) that a solid slug of Guinness during labor can help with the stress of the process, especially if you're at a stage when what you need is rest, but I wouldn't know this myself.

@73 darxbane -- interesting point. I don't know how likely it would be for that tradition to survive 3000 years, especially when the quality of the non-alcoholic water supply was likely dodgy from time to time, but it sure *could* happen. RJ does like to bring us up short by reminding us that this is a world with traces of a high-"tech" past, and this could well be one of them.

@77 chaplainchris1 -- my sentiments exactly.

Alice Arneson
79. Wetlandernw
Egwene - Yeah, I'm not sure where that damane comment came from, except that rumor is weird, and interpreting rumor is apparently even wierder.

Mellar - last I knew, he was in the palace dungeons. Hope he dies of Slayerness or PadanFaindaggerness or something excruciatingly painful. Maybe the gholam. Couldn't happen to a more deserving guy.

Pregnancy diet - Well, one thing I've seen far too much of is people assuming that every woman is the same. You know how they say to eat saltines to alleviate morning sickness? or dry toast? Gah! Either one made me nauseous. I had to have buttered toast, at least. Something with protein and a little fat was totally the best. For me. As far as I can tell, Aviendha's breakfast probably would have been pretty good for Elayne. Not that the porridge was a bad thing, but dreadfully inadequate in terms of nutritional balance. But most women seem to think that whatever bothered them will bother you, and whatever worked well for them will work well for you. Complete silliness. But you know what they say: the only woman who gets more unsolicited advice than a pregnant woman ... is a woman with a newborn. As far as alcohol in pregnancy, I'm given to understand that it's primarily binge drinking that causes problems; the occasional glass of wine with dinner isn't going to hurt the babe. In any case, that's what I did, and it seemed to work out fine.

I have a notion that the "other matter" was trying to get someone to follow "Mellar" to find out where he goes, who he meets, etc. If he's a DF, it might be educational. (As it later proves, after a fashion.) Could be wrong about that, though. I see others have thought so too, and that still others disagree. ::shrug::

Manetheren - Back in the day, it encompassed most of what is currently Andor and Ghealdan. Anyone raising the banner of Manetheran would be assumed to at least be considering reclaiming all (or significant portions) of that territory, which would... well, be a threat to both Andor and Ghealdan. Chances are, anyone making that claim would be demonstrably looney, but if they weren't looney and had both the skill and the manpower to make a good start, it could get dicey for Elayne. In this case, Elayne is becoming familiar with the strength of character of the Two Rivers people; it should be pretty obvious that if anyone could pull off The Resurrection of Manetheran, they could.
Heidi Byrd
80. sweetlilflower
Its not the cats themselves that are harmful to pregnant ladies, but cleaning out the litter box because of the harmful bacteria found in cat scat (which would be a great name for a jazz group). Had to channel Dave Barry :) (get it? channel? hahahahahaha)

On the alcohol while pregnant thing and how it seems off for the time period, I would say that depends on how long "Caressing the Child" has been a known weave. If the AoL AS could tell that certain children were not developing properly and noticed a correlation between said development and alcohol consumption, then it is reasonable to assume that women would be told not to drink the strong stuff whilst with child. The problem with this reasoning is that, as others have pointed out, wine was usually safer than water. And, if I remember correctly, table wine was usually watered down. So, there you go, I'm going to drink some wine now as all this talk writing has made me thirsty.
81. Freelancer
There is no question that small amounts of alcohol would have negligible detriment, but that is a vastly different thing than saying it's a good thing. It is not. The primary issue with alcohol is that its presence in the bloodstream diminishes the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. Since mother and child to not directly share bloodstreams, this would seem to be unimportant. Except that another property of alcohol is the ease with which it passes blood barriers, such as in the cranium and in the placenta. This transfers alchohol to the baby's blood system, where a far smaller concentration becomes significant.

Please think twice about accepting advice that drinking while pregnant isn't risky.
Tricia Irish
82. Tektonica
There are really two conversations going on here....

1. Elayne could probably drink watered wine with impunity, since it was safer than plain water. But she drinks tea....with caffine, I presume. (Caffine in large amounts is not good either.)

2. In today's world, we know scientifically that alcohol during the developmental months of pregnancy can have very adverse effects on the child's brain. (First 6 months.)

That said, my doc told me to have one cocktail during the last 2 weeks of pregnancy, when I got contractions. He said, if it stopped the contractions, it was a false contraction, and if it wasn't a false contraction, nothing would stop it. By then, the baby is fully formed, as well, just getting bigger.
Thomas Keith
84. insectoid
Aw, why all the cat hate bashing? Cats rule and dogs drool! (Or so a certain movie told me once.)

Oh, and cats aren't evil... they're just very, very sneaky—like a certain Brown sister we all know and love. (I've known 6 cats in my life so I should know!)

Sandy Brewer
85. ShaggyBella
Some cats carry the parasite that causes Toxoplasmosis. Immune defecient people and pregnant women are suceptible to the disease and it can cross the placenta and harm the fetus.
So usually the mom-to-be shouild get out of cleaning litter boxes.
Janet Hopkins
86. JanDSedai
RobbieOlsen @46 had it right about taxes out of the Two Rivers.
Tax collectors would never need to go down into the TR, but would just wait for the peddlers to come through Taren's Ferry (or even Baerlon). Surely such a profitable commodity as tabac would be taxed somewhere down the pipeline for Elayne to recognize it as one of the principle exports of the TR.

And speaking of bizarre pregnancy diets-- somewhere about the turn of the previous century (1900's), the relation between calcium and strong bones was noted by the medical community. So doctors advised their pregnant patients not to drink *any* milk--so that the baby's bones would be soft, and they would have an easier delivery.!***!
Hugh Arai
87. HArai

About Elayne's baby, and the exceedingly annoying rumor that it's Mellar's; I find it interesting that in Andor (and maybe Randland in general) "legitimate" birth doesn't seem to be an issue, since Elayne thinks a daughter will secure the succession.

I've previously read several real world cultures trace(d) "legitimate" descent solely through the mother because at low tech levels it's pretty hard to prove who the father is, but it's pretty obvious who the mother is :)
Birgit F
88. birgit
The Three Rivers

Where did the third river come from? Mesopotamia has only two rivers.

And the more recent trollocs, remember the Whitecloaks+Fain kept anyone from leaving the Two Rivers, even Tinkers, precisely because they didn't want any word to get out.

The Whitecloaks didn't want the news to get out, but Fain did because his point was luring Rand there.

Why would Elayne know that Hurin was with the Borderland armies (and thus, the source of their knowledge that Elayne was at Falme)?

She didn't know that he was with the army, but she should have known where Easar heard of Falme:

There will be a place in the Tower for you to rest before you travel on." Hurin shook his head empathically. "I cannot waste a day, Verin Sedai. Not another hour. I must return to Shienar, to tell King Easar, and Lord Agelmar, the truth of what happened at Falme. I must tell them about -" He cut off abruptly and looked around. There was no one close enough to overhear, but he still lowered his voice and said only, "About Rand. That the Dragon is Reborn.
TDR ch. 11

John Massey
90. subwoofer
Can I pull my head out of the sand? Is it safe? Why wasn't I included on the vote when we started talking about er... woman stuff and then somebody drops the placenta bomb?


Every other post is leaving me with my own PTSD.

Now I know that I have complained about this book and the plod, but Great Elvis' ghost! This book ends with a bang! I am humming because if we keep on pace, in two weeks we may get to it. Weeeeeeeeeee!

@Sam & Randalator around the 40 mark, why do you have to take a perfectly innocent picture and tarnish it so?

Elayne- now she does leap before she looks quite often, but by the end of this all, she steps up and is no longer just the daughter-heir.

Borderlanders- are they doing the right thing? And what was the point of taking 200 000 troops on a walk across the country. How were they expecting this to end happy? Or, as we discussed, is this a Forsaken thing?

Bouke de Boer
91. Bouke
sub @16: That is the best way to start commenting! I tip my hat in your general direction.

Samadai @41: The next question is: who gave this alleged green suit the money for her to pose like that?

RobbieOlson @46: Mentioned by others, it wasn't so much them that stopped paying as it was Andor that stopped collecting.
As to the solution provided by JanDSedai @ 86: I'm not even going into the economics of taxation, but only taxing peddlers that buy one of the local products sounds like a fairly onesided and selective way of taxing.

Freelancer @81: Excellent point. I'm going to remember that for future reference.
Brandon Daggerhart
92. BDaggerhart
@ 56. Man-0-Manethera

The Luckiest - Ben Folds

I understand you probably just googled the word "lucky" in song titles, but that song really doesn't have much to do with what you think it does. ;)

@ 38. alreadymadwiththeredeagle

Well, we do find later that they've been sending people out to follow Mellar, and that the people they send keep ending up dead.

Right, I understand. What I was saying is, I don't think at this point in time that Elayne and Co. had reason to suspect Meller yet, and I doubt they were following him around at this point - I think that happens later after they hear some suspicious things about him.
diane heath
93. jadelollipop
Yay for comments. Made it possible to find this re-read today. Will check back after I read it :)
Elena Vaccaro
94. EarthandIce
Opps. Sorry, I live in an area that has the nick-named The Three Rivers. I occasionally put three in for two when thinking about Randland.

Liked the reference to Mesopotamia, too.
Teksty Piosenek
95. tekstypiosenek
I've previously read several real world cultures trace(d) "legitimate"
descent solely through the mother because at low tech levels it's pretty
hard to prove who the father is, but it's pretty obvious who the mother
is :)
John Massey
96. subwoofer
I think the only thing they suspect Mellar of is being a douche. Beyond that, there is no connection to him and the people he "saved" Elayne from. Currently. I dunno, if Elayne was looking for a dupe to lead off suspicions then why didn't she pick a less slime character, like Master Norry, or maybe a Tallanvor type guardsman. But then again, Elayne seems to be the chosen one for picking dodgy types. It runs in the family, look at Gawyn.

diane heath
97. jadelollipop
I always hated that she let everyone think that Mellar was the father of the baby. Would be just her luck that a pre-TGS Rand would believe it.
OTOH I don't think she will have the baby before TG unless it is mentioned in a "Rowling type epilogue". Better to leave it out and place it in the encyclopedia.
Tess Laird
98. thewindrose
I understand why Elayne let others think Mellar was the father. She is carrying 'The Dragon Reborns' child(ren). It is good reasoning on her part that she could be used by the Forsaken to lure Rand into a trap if others new of her relationship to Rand and that she is also pregnant by him.

Birgitte, Aviendha and Elayne have suspected something is up with Mellar from the moment of his dramatic 'rescue' of Elayne(so since they have met him.) Elayne used Mellar as the supposed father of her babies, because it would make some sense that she was greatful to him for 'saving' her, as opposed to someone like Norry.

I was very relieved when Elayne got a midwife, what she had to eat before that just seemed wrong!
When I had my first child, almost 10 years ago, my obgyn suggested to have a glass of wine or something like Baileys before I went to bed my last couple of weeks of pregnancy - I was have trouble sleeping. Mind you, he said a glass, not a bottle, and nothing like a shot of wiskey. My kids seem pretty normal to me. But honestly, during my first trimester, the smell of alchohol made me feel nausous. And yes, it was annoying when people would come up and tell me to do this or that - it made me feel as though people thought maybe my brain was turned off? Same thing when you have your first child - it seems like people don't think you know what you are doing and will come up and tell you what you should be doing. (Do new parents have a neon sign or something? I didn't run into this after my second child - but then again I had the older kid with me so it was evident that I had some experience:)

Valentin M
99. ValMar
I am really glad that to Elayne and co it became immediately apparent that Mellar "wasn't right". I find it very frustrating when in books/movies a clearly bad character is unsuspected and allowed to do damage. Very tiresome trope. And I mean characters that can be seen by the people in the story itself as bad, not just the readers/viewers.
Valentin M
100. ValMar
Re: the legitimacy of Elayne's children, I think the situation is very temporary and it's just rumours about Mellar. It can be cleared up before it becomes a problem.

One last thing. Today, on my way to the shops, I saw the Pope being driven away from Westminster Cathedral. And I got the hunny. All bow to me!
Scientist, Father
101. Silvertip
Wetlander @79:

Well, one thing I've seen far too much of is people assuming that every woman is the same.

True that! And ... from one pregnancy to the next! When my wife got pregnant with our second, I was totally prepared, figured I knew all her likes and dislikes to come ... but everything changed. Big letdown.
Alice Arneson
102. Wetlandernw
Silvertip - So very true. First pregnancy, I had 8 weeks of nothing, 2 weeks sicking up once a day, 1 week sicking up 4 or 5 times a day, and then it was gone. And I got to worry about the baby between appointments until he got big enough to feel him move. Second pregnancy, didn't sick up at all. Just (!!) dry heaves and nausea for 6 months. Yay. (Not!) Never did have odd food cravings, except once when I just had to have something with chocolate sauce on it and there wasn't any ice cream in the house. :)

Back to WoT - it took me a while to realize that Elayne & co. were on to Mellar from the start, so I recall nearly jumping up and down in frustration that they trusted him. Once I realized they didn't trust him, but were keeping him close for watching purposes, I just loathed him more quietly. How Elayne could manage to pretend any positive feeling toward the guy is almost beyond me, though - Queen training must involve some serious acting lessons!! If he sneaks out of jail in TofM, I'm going to be seriously annoyed that they didn't execute him on the spot, legal or not.

BTW, I'm reasonably certain that, while they didn't have proof he was a DF, they were mighty suspicious of it. Especially when all their tails kept dying. But we haven't gotten there yet. As noted before, I think Reene Harfor's "other thing" is finding a way to tail him, but I haven't gone looking for proof. Hopefully we'll find it (one way or the other), if we remember to look by the time we get back to this plotline - but that's 18 chapters plus a prologue away. *sigh* We may never know...
Jonathan Levy
103. JonathanLevy
I've got a song for the whole Andor Succession Thread. Each time I encounter it I start humming the refrain:

As for the Manetheren banner, I haven't read all the comments yet, but I think that it is risky for Andor, and not because of economic reasons, but political ones. Losing the mines may be unpleasant, but the big risk is that other outlying areas will decide that Andor is too weak to help them if they need it, and they'll start swearing fealty en masse to Manetheren or Cairhien etc. The fall of the Soviet Union is the example to keep in mind - once the various nations realized that the Kremlin wasn't willing to use force to keep them in line any more, the whole thing came apart.

Yeah, the borderlanders are stupid. Makes no sense. Rand's been ignoring you? Duh, you're the only ones doing your jobs, he has to whip the rest into line. Besides, each time he's shown up, war has usually followed. Why are you so eager for him to arrive?

Re: TheGreatHunt - In my humble opinion, Mat sounded much more in character in that chapter. I enjoyed it very much. With one exception - bloody ashes again!! :)
Ron Garrison
104. Man-0-Manetheran
Chocolate sauce and no ice cream? No problem. That brought back fond childhood memories of going to the fridge and sneaking a great big pull from the Hershey's can, carefully wiping my lip prints off of it and putting it precisely back in the same spot. Ahhhh.
Tess Laird
105. thewindrose
Wetlandernw - I am afraid that Mellar will get out of his current situation of jail:
In aCoS Min has a veiwing of him(she see's him as Daved Hanlon at the Cairhien rebel gathering):
bruised hues so dark they seemed nearly black. His hands would be red with more rapes and murders before he died.

Of course he could have done this before he got this new job - but he didn't really reflect on anything except that he hadn't been very successful in his prior dealings when he reports to Mili Skane/ Lady Shiaine. It is interesting that Fain was with him and Toram Riatan, I wonder if he was supposed to kill Fain ?(I know this was a while back, did we discuss that at all?)

106. arghmyheadisempty
It's always a pleasure to open my laptop after a horrible day at work and see there are new comments on the re-read thread!

I may be a wierdo but I actually liked these chapters. But maybe that's because I like Elayne. I think the succession is the first plotline where Elayne can really show how awesome she is. Until her return to Andor she was just being pushed around by Nynaeve. And no, I'm not a Nynaeve-hater, I just think she's a little bit pushy. :P
Tricia Irish
107. Tektonica
Chocolate sauce: Anyone remember Bosco? Does it still exist?

I think Elayne and Avi and Birgitte twigged to Mellar right away. Rene Harfor and Norry are great second tier characters. Love them.
diane heath
108. jadelollipop
Just a note re: Great Hunt chapter. I noted in one discussion that someone claimed that those who disliked Mat in TGS liked him now and those who liked him in TGS disliked him in this chapter
I just want to say that I liked Mat in TGS and loved him in this preview of Towers.....
Sandy Brewer
109. ShaggyBella
It seems that Elayne is one of the few who beleive Rand will not make it past TG. Although it is hard, she is making the best of it and accepts his madness and/or death. (Take what you want and Pay for it) She is tough and practical, compared with Min who is fighting it and in denial. I don't know about Avi, not enough POVs.

It might be better to have a son first, so he could begin his training before his sister came. Yet a daughter secured the succession, while a lone son would be pushed aside, and as much as she wanted more than one, nothing said she would have another child. Light send her more of Rand's children, but she had to be practical.

John Massey
110. subwoofer
Well, for me, I noticed that for Brandon, sometimes it takes time for him to "wear in" certain characters, even in his own series, because, let's be honest, he is still developing his style as an author. Mat is a very identifiable character and many people have him "fit" a certain way in their minds. Brandon, although an avid fan of WoT is still doing some alterations to the Mat character, but it definitely is a much better "fit" now.

Mellar, I forgot about Elayne getting the greatest pick-pocket in Caemlyn on his trail. I do recall that, and I do remember that the girls are suspicious, the leap to Mellar= DF is still a little vague.

Manetheran- I just really like the story of the golden days of the kingdom and the tragic fall of the empire. It would be nice to see it rise up again. All things considered one of the kingdoms- Lan's or the TR's has to come back from the past.

Daniel Hanley
111. dmhman749
To ShaggyBella, as of TGS, Avi has definately accepted rand's death...In one of her POV chapters when the wise ones are punishing her, she thinks something along the lines of 'She would become a wise one so that she could come to Rand with honor and marry him before he died in the last battle'. Or something along those lines. She believes that he is going to die though...Min appears to be the only one who completely rejects the possiblity. I think that Elayne is still resisting it, though she accepts the possibility.

I really kind of see both sides point of view...From Elayne's point of view, its definately not ok for the two rivers to break off. From Perin/the two rivers people, why should they stay in andor? Hopefully it will be resolved well...maybe if Elayne takes over cairhein, that expansion of power will give her an out in accepting manetheren's independence. we will see.
John Massey
113. subwoofer
Ahhhh yes, as a child I remember going into the freezer, getting out that frosty glass on a hot summer day, and pouring some beer in it. The foam was soooo good!

Root beer that is- I was a wonderful child!

@Tek107- I think it is a what kinda crappy link thing is going on around here? Ahhhh whatever, it works. Check it out anyways. *sigh* waiting for the first downgrade to fix the upgrade...

Chris Chaplain
114. chaplainchris1
Hey Leigh, how about a reread/review of the TOM chapter?
115. yt99
Actually, I think the whole anger over Manetheren thing is completely bogus. In the timeline of the story, Manetheren died over 2,000 years ago. And I'm really expected to believe that the glory of Manetheren was so great just putting up a flag with a red eagle on it is a threat to a sitting ruler? Does anyone think the fake Roman Centurions posing for pictures by the Colisseum are making the politicians in Rome scared that someone will try to resurrect the Roman Empire? If someone in Iran put up a flag for the Parthian Empire, would the secret police be all up in their business? No one would care. It's two....thousand.... years ago . It would just be a joke.
Bill Reamy
116. BillinHI
Well, it took a few days but I'm finally up to speed after returning from our (overly long for our cat) vacation (which was awesome). I was able to read the posts and comments after a new post went up by downloading the whole thing, but I couldn't comment at the time (42 cents a minute was the least expensive option on the cruise ship for a very slow satellite internet connection).

To go back a few posts, congrats to Leigh on the Auntie-hood. I particularly like the name (Remy, for those who have forgotten already ;) as that was my family name back in the day in France when my ancestors got kicked out for being Hugenots. The totally ironic thing is my paternal grandmother was Irish Catholic, so my whole branch of the family (not a large one) was at least raised Catholic.

Pregnancy diet: My wife was told to strictly limit, if not totally eliminate, fat and salt from her diet during her first pregnancy and wound up losing her gall bladder a couple of years later! Outside of actual poisons, I'm of the opinion that nothing should be totally eliminated from anyone's diet at any time. Moderation in all things.

Not much to say about the current chapters that hasn't been said, but I do agree that Elayne & co suspected Mellar from the get-go and I hope we find out in November whether Demandred (or just the BA) was behind the Borderlanders March of Idiocy. Seriously, WTF were they thinking? ... Oh yeah, they weren't thinking.
Tricia Irish
117. Tektonica

Thank you for the link! It appears that Bosco is available in Florida at my local Publix! I just never looked! LOL. I'm not much of a chocolate fan anymore, but I have great Bosco memories from childhood. It had a unique taste when chocolatizing* milk.
(*New word.)

YT99@115: Good point!

Welcome home BillinHI. Hope your cruise was relaxing and fun! You picked a nice boring mellow section of the reread to avoid miss.
Wesley Parish
120. Aladdin_Sane
If I might jump in headfirst with both feet into the Matter of Manetheren: I was in Papua New Guinea in the sixities and seventies, when Indonesia had "reclaimed" Dutch New Guinea and renamed it Irian Jaya/Irian Barat (West Irian). (Neither Indonesia nor the Netherlands comes off particularly honourably in this event.) And Indonesia was making regular incursions into the Australian Territory of Papua and the UN Trust Territory of New Guinea, allegedly in "hot pursuit" of Irianese/West Papuan rebels. Where we lived in Edwaki, was a quarter of the distance from the Sepik headwaters to the Pacific, in other words not that distant from the border; but on every reported incident, the Australian government sent detachments of the Australian Defence Force into the West Sepik District (now the Sandaun (Sundown) Provins), and made a show of their presence, providing health check-ups, etc, just in case the Indonesians decided to stay.

Conclusion: lack of presence in the case of such an event, is a confession of weakness, and likewise, the confession that there is no relationship between the alleged government and the alleged citizens/subjects/protected persons.

Ditto the lack of tax-collectors.

I don't see that Daughter-Heir Elayne has a leg to stand on. It would make sense to acknowledge that The Two Rivers are an independent state(let), having a diplomatic (of sorts) relationship with Saldaea (Davram Bashere has not repudiated his daughter's marriage, and Tenobia will take his advice in this case, I would say), and a relationship of protection with Ghealdan. Tasation of merchants at Baerlon doesn't replace the presence of tax collectors and Guardsmen in the Two Rivers.

@119 Jonathan Levy: There is a nice Maori phrase ahi ka - translates as burning fire - which gives their view of the claim a tribe may have on land that has been taken in war. If you keep your fire burning - ie, some form of tribal ie state, as opposed to personal presence in the disputed territory - you have a claim to that land. In the case of the Zionists and the millennial Jewish presence in Palestineafter the Great Revolt against the Romans, I would say that the Jewish presence was more of a personal presence rather than a state presence.

Herzl at one stage thought mass conversion of European Jewry would solve the problems he foresaw. I don't think he had a leg to stand on, either.
Jonathan Levy
121. JonathanLevy
Aladdin_Sane @ 120
My point was to illustrate the power of symbols to motivate people even after 2,000 years, and that therefore Elayne's concern is justifiable. I did not mean to suggest that the two cases were historically equivalent.

Forgive me for intruding with a personal question, but are you from New Zealand? My wife and I went to New Zealand on our honeymoon, and fondly remember each and every moment. Such a beautiful land, and such nice people!
123. SheWolf
Hi everybody :-)

I would like to talk about the 'Mat' TOM chapter offered as an amuse-geule. Promise not to include spoilers.

I found Mat rather annoying in the past and am liking him much more now. Previously he was an irresponsible scoundrel - probably what so many readers liked about him. Now people claim that the tone is off... but is it really? Is it a RJ vs BS problem or is it intentional... would RJ's Mat perhaps also not have been different in TGS and TOM?

After all he has matured dramatically, and not of his own volition. He has a wife... who also happens to be his (2nd, after the DO) greatest enemy and is the head of an empire. He is being chased again ( oops... spoiler) by the gholam, he will have to risk his life to save someone he doesn't ever really like much, in a place of which, for him, nightmares are made, he knows he has broken the heart of a close business associate, he has a child to care for, an army of thousands and a buch of cantankerous Aes Seadai and Seanchan on his plate too. Definitely reason to become more serious.

Considering all his troubles, he is defintely a cool guy!
Sandy Brewer
124. ShaggyBella
I am one of the folks who is not planning on reading any prolgues or preview chapters. I am waiting for the actual TOM book, which I will enjoy all at one time. Thanks for not including spoilers in this thread. Maybe Tor can create a thread for all new information & speculation. Hey only 43 days to go!
Bill Reamy
125. BillinHI
Tek, thanks, we didn't overstress this time like we did once in the past but there were lots of shore excursions. We did have two at-sea days and three days in Venice that provided wind-down time.

Yeah, this post is definitely mellow compared to the reaction to Leigh's post mentioning sword/gun control!
Birgit F
126. birgit
bruised hues so dark they seemed nearly black. His hands would be red with more rapes and murders before he died.

He did murder the people who tried to spy on him and probably raped some servants in the palace.
Davram Bashere has not repudiated his daughter's marriage, and Tenobia will take his advice in this case, I would say

Does Tenobia listen to anyone? She is chasing Bashere because he deserted her and follows the Dragon Reborn. Elayne misunderstands the reasons for her eagerness to see him again.
Alice Arneson
127. Wetlandernw
Just a suggestion - until Tor puts up the discussion thread for the prologue (due on Tuesday) why don't we put discussions of the TofM Chapter 8 on the Great Hunt thread?
Tricia Irish
128. Tektonica
Uh, Wetlander....I hate to sound ignorant, but, I guess I will.....
What/where is the Great Hunt thread?
Do you mean Book 2?
Jay Dauro
129. J.Dauro

That was the nickname for Brandon's Search for the Clues promotion of TOM during The Way of Kings tour. See

You can read Chapter 8 of TOM, (which is what was revealed when all of the clues were found) at

Some folks are starting to discuss it also.
John Massey
130. subwoofer
Wow! All is quiet on the western front.

@BillinHI- dude, you live in paradise. Isn't every day a vacation?

& yeah, I have been treading very carefully about discussing SSL over here. I have been doing some posting on the spoiler thread at Dragonmount, but basically, I am still buzzed about it.

Currently I am doing a re-read of CoT, and knowing that we, as a group are going over the material, I am actually paying attention, and even the prologue has much to say. These last few books are so much better with all you guys around to share your insights with. Thank you. And thank you Leigh, this is a unique setting for all of us and none would be possible without our fearless leader to set the tone... and drink jello shots;)

diane heath
131. jadelollipop
Sub I have been unable to re-register at Dragonmount. (The registration fails as I am supposed to answer a challenge question that I don't have *confused*)
Alice Arneson
132. Wetlandernw
Tektonica @128 - Sorry about that.
J.Dauro @129, thanks for clarifying for me.

I was having trouble with my internet connection (stupid Comcast!) so I couldn't find the correct name, much less the link. Yeah, I meant the thread about "The Way of Kings holds a secret..." It seems like an appropriate place to discuss the secret which was revealed. :)
Tricia Irish
133. Tektonica
Wetlander & J.Dauro:

Thank you! I have indeed read the Chapter and enjoyed it very much! I'll boogie on over to the thread you posted to see what everyone has to say.
Wesley Parish
134. Aladdin_Sane
@121 Jonathan Levy

Point taken. But some symbols, while potent, tend to get very highly diluted over time - the example being the Roman Empire.

Every state in Europe seems to have some connection to said empire, with the exception of the Scandinavians. When Russia claims to be the (theological) Third Rome - after the collapse of Byzantium - and the coagulation of German state(lets) becomes known as the Holy Roman Empire, and the British Empire self-consciously used Roman emblems and symbols, Mussolini had a hard job presenting his tin-pot little empire as a revival of the Roman Empire. It didn't stop him tryng ... and failing.

And FWLIW, I'm a Kiwi - living in the city that had a 7.1 Richter-scale shakeup recently. Guess! :)

@126 Birgitte

I think Tenobia will listen to Davram. They do share that "grab the bolshy girl by the scruff of the neck and show her some sense" Saldaean culture.

Speaking of the power relationships in WoT after the eruption of the Aiel:
Rand plus Aiel is the "superpower" - or perhaps the "hyperpower".
The White Tower is an obnoxious king-maker/power-broker.
The states/kingdoms are largely medium-level powers, with problems keeping hold of territory due to various reasons, incessant border niggles and wars at one end of the spectrum, trade difficulties at the other end of the spectrum.
The Seanchans are an unstable empire with a founding mystique based on a historical figure shared with the little piece of Randland we have come to know and love ... :)
Jonathan Levy
135. JonathanLevy
Aladdin_Sane @ 134


Ok I admit, I had to look it up on wikipedia. I remember reading about the earthquake, but I had forgotten where the epicenter was. I hope you and yours came through it without injury or loss.

Yes, the symbols of the Roman Empire have become quite diluted, haven't they? I remember seeing an American WWI war memorial in France covered in Roman Fasces. Ironic, how a universal symbol became almost taboo thanks to Mussolini.

As for the power relationships, I agree with your classifications, except that I think I would put Rand and the Aiel in a separate category. Because their power is so very transient, they're more like the Goths/Huns/Mongols (on which they are patterened to a certain extent) than the USA/Soviet Union in the 20th/21st century.
James Hogan
136. Sonofthunder
Tek @117, mmm Publix! I haven't been there in so long...I miss it.

And um...can I think of anything on-topic to say? Not really, no. Except that I think Elayne's little stunt with the Borderlanders(while silly) was totally cool in that it started and finished in one chapter.
137. simonk1905
Thanks for the re-reah Leigh.

And very nice on the Ferris Bueller reference. Always takes me back to happier times.




James Jones
138. jamesedjones
74 Chaplainchris1
(I remember b/c the midwife smells and tastes Elayne' pee, which really grosses me out. Sorry to be all 12 and all about it. )

Actually, before blood glucose meters became so prevalent in the late 20th century, the main way to test for diabetes was by tasting someone's pee. If it was sweet, you had a problem.

Thankfully, I've always been able to rely on my glucose meter. But most diabetics know that in an emergency, if they don't have access to supplies, they might need to resort to more primative methods for monitoring themselves. Gestational diabetes has been something that midwives have known about for a long time.

Had there been a problem, Elayne would have found herself on a no-carb diet; lotsa green veggies. Atkins, for the primitive win.
139. alreadymadwithtastingpee
Tasting pee while definitive, is a bit excessive. You could just leave it and see if ants come get it.
John Massey
140. subwoofer
Yeah, I'll pass on that whole test. I am sure there was an easier way. Mind you, same folks that do that are the same ones that respond to the whole, "taste this, I think it's gone bad" question.

@Jade, dunno what to tell you. Dragonmount has been fairly difficult over the weekend as the site was very busy and is under, er... renovations, but anyways, I just log on as I am a registered user there and then give'r.

I could always start a rant about people undermining people. Elayne is a grown woman, albeit somewhat brash, and she is also supposed to be in charge of stuff and yet every step of her way, people are trying to hold her back. Is there an unwritten rule somewhere that when you become pregnant, you lose all track of logic and reason? I dunno, I think Elayne is doing what is necessary in regards to protecting her throne and assuring she gets the throne. And she is doing it on her own terms. In a way, it is like a mini-Rand situation.

James Hogan
141. Sonofthunder
This whole line of conversation is making me sad. And very glad that I've already eaten my lunch.
Chris Chaplain
142. chaplainchris1
jamesdjones @138 - oh, I never doubted the pee-test was valid (though I'd not tried to find out what exactly it was testing for, so thanks for the info). I just found it gross. Hence my apology for my adolescent reaction. :)
143. Up2stuff
Man-o @ 56-

I thought Rod Stewart did "Some Guys Have All The Luck"

Elayne - Uptown Girl - Billy Joel

Perrin - Sledgehammer - Peter Gabriel

Elaida - Bitch is Back - Elton John

Mellar - Don't Stand So Close to Me - Police

Halima - One Hot Momma - Trace Adkins

LOVING the themesong thread!!!
Donna Harvey
144. snaggletoothedwoman
Man-o @56

I like "I put a Spell on You" Bette Midler for Graendal
And for Hurin "Can't you smell that smell" Lynyrd Skynyrd
Tricia Irish
145. Tektonica

You used to live in Florida? Publix is OK, but don't waste any time, like, missing it, or anything. Nostalgia, I know.....

JEJ: Thanks for the useful info....I didn't know that either. My mom probably did. ;-)

Up2stuff@143: Good choices! Sledgehammer=Perrin! Perfect. Mellar= Don't stand so close to me! ROFLOL.

BTW: Anyone else get shut out of Tor this morning? I couldn't get on until 11am?? The good news seems to keep me logged in, most of the time, now.
Thanks Torie, et al.
Barry T
146. blindillusion
Publix - Still exists in South Carolina.

Insert clever demotivational psoter here.
Tricia Irish
147. Tektonica
Blind@146: Didn't know Publix existed outside of Florida. ;-)
Bill Reamy
148. BillinHI
Subwoofer @ 130: Even here in paradise, you tend to get into a routine (breakfast, check e-mail, local news on the intar-webs, re-read blogs, etc.) so it's nice to get out of that for a while and see new places and meet new people. I must admit I'm becoming a bit of a recluse lately, so vacations/trips are good...except for our cat, who seems to be suffering PTSD from the long separation. We had two cat-sitters come in while we were gone and they said he seemed to be getting depressed towards the end (we were gone 5 1/2 weeks). He's certainly acting weird now: not sleeping as much (keeping an eye on us) and not in his usual places, not eating real well, etc. The eating is not really a problem yet, as he weighs over 20 pounds and could stand to lose a couple. Hopefully as he figures out we're not leaving him again, he'll settle back down into his old routine.

Wow! It really is quiet around here, isn't it?
Karen Jacobs
149. KJacobs
BillinHI@148: Poor Baby! I hope he settles down soon. I always worry about stressing out our two, and so far we've been lucky enough to know people who will actually stay at our house when we go away to try to keep things as 'normal' for them as possible. 5 1/2 weeks might make that a little difficult though... :) Must have been a wonderful trip!
Steve Hussey
151. deihbhussey
I'm going to preface this comment by indicating that I've only read the re-read and leigh's commentary. I'm waaay far behind and have to catch up on the comments, but before I do, I wanted to address the following:

It’s mentioned a few times in CoT that Egwene fears that Rand is using Compulsion to get the sisters to swear fealty to him – which has much more in common with the a’dam then a simple oath does. Put in that light, the statement, “chaining Aes Sedai like damane,”, makes much more sense.

Now to go back and see how many people I'm parroting ;-)
152. Greyhawk
Subwoofer @ 140 "Elayne is a grown woman"

I think she is 19 and was 17 at the start--a lot of growing up in those 2 years, sure--but hardly a grown woman.

Your characterization highlighted/reminded me how the passage of 20 years in real life does not correspond to what has passed in the books. A lot can be explained/excused because of the relatvie youth of many of the main characters--but then a lot of suspension of disbelief is required when we are reminded of their ages. I guess it evens out. . .
Tess Laird
153. thewindrose
subwoofer - I have a quote about Egwene and her thoughts on what Rand is up to from RJ - It is from his blog, and I found it on the Thirteenth Depository(Its been a while January 20th, 2006):
Various people have commented on Egwene being dumb with Rand, in particular contrasting how Pevara leaped immediately to a conclusion that he was ta’veren where the same information took Egwene to possible Compulsion. Pevara has a clean slate regarding Rand. Insofar as Compulsion goes, to her it is a forbidden weave, suppressed so effectively among women who come to the Tower that despite the fact that many wilders have some form of it as their first weaving, by the time the White Tower is done with them many of those same women can no longer make the weave nor, in some cases, even recall how to. How, then, does this young man come by Compulsion? Much more possible, however unlikely, that he is ta’veren. Egwene, on the other hand, grew up with Rand. She largely evaded the training that would have set the same thoughts regarding Compulsion in her head that Pevara has. Whatever Egwene has learned about Rand and now knows intellectually, there is a core of her that says he is Rand al’Thor rather the Dragon Reborn, or least before being the Dragon Reborn, and if Rand were in any way ta’veren, surely she would have noticed it during their years growing up. On the other hand, he has surprised her, and others, with abilities and knowledge of weaves, such as Traveling, that they didn’t expect. If he is pulling strange weaves out of nowhere, who is to say that Compulsion isn’t among them? It would certainly fit the information, after all.

So we have her comment from the chapter here about chaining Aes Sedai up like damane, and also her thought process from RJ himself on what is going on in her thoughts.

Part of this is what I think her anger will be about when she has at it with Rand(the DR will know the Amyrlins anger). And of course this would totally fall in with the Randland - I don't know all the facts but I know I am right- kind of thinking.

154. Up2stuff
Couple more theme songs:

Elayne, any fits - Tequila make her clothes fall off, Wild Night or Dance Naked - Mellancamp

Bayle Domon - Son of a Son of a Sailor - Jimmy Buffet

Rand - Volcano - Jimmy Buffet

Bashere (regarding Perrin and Faile's marriage) - Cleanin' This Gun - Rodney Atkins

Nynaeve - Little Miss Can't Be Wrong - Spin Doctors
Tina A
155. Tinaa
Aladdin_Sane @ 134

Most of my family is in Christchurch, and thankfully they all came through the quake ok, bar a few bumps and bruises. I guess all those earthquake drills in school came in handy after all...

I hope you and yours are all well and safe.
Karen Jacobs
156. KJacobs
Song for Rand:

Let it Rock - Kevin Rudolph - for some wierd reason Rand always comes to mind when I hear the chorus "When I arrive, I will bring the fire..."
157. AppleBrandy
Is there an unwritten rule somewhere that when you become pregnant, you lose all track of logic and reason?

It's called "pregnancy brain." Just about every mother I know has complained about it.
John Massey
158. subwoofer
@Greyhawk- interesting. One thing that gets me is, are we judging people by our modern standards of age, ie- 30 is the new 20 or are we going by the era this book takes place in? For and Aes Sedai, Elayne is young, for a woman, not so much. For a person that is able to make their own decisions, I think Elayne is plenty old enough. She may not make the right decisions, and need some advising, but by that same token, Rand was fresh off the farm when this all began and he went through some growing pains. Does this mean that he has all the answers? No. What I am saying is that while they are young for their respective positions, do not rule them out because of their age.

@Wind- yes, Eggy already has this pre- existing dynamic with Rand. What we have to remember is that Rand is also LTT. Fitting the information to how Rand is doesn't really work. I think Eggy should trust her heart though and put a little faith in Rand. He is the DR, a little leap of faith from close friends should be a gimme.

159. Greyhawk
Subwoofer @ 158- a good point and one that is often properly raised in comparing maturity expectations from different societies and cultures. However, at least to me, Jordan tried a little bit to have it both ways with his primary protagonists; meaing drawing on our culture's concepts of what is expected of people a certain age and that of a medival/feudal society. Recall the introduction of Elayne in tEotW, the novice scenes in the white towere where Egwene and Elayne were portrayed as adolescents giggling about boys and school. That is at least somewhat inconsistent (in my mind) with supposed maturity of some of the characters. Certainly hasn't ruined the story or anything, just for me has required some additional instances of suspension of disbelief.
James Jones
160. jamesedjones
153 thewindrose

Re: Egghead's view of Rand

None of that information surprises me. It was exactly how most of her actions and thoughts appeared to me. And it doesn't change that her view is offensive and arrogant. If he were taveren she would have noticed? Smarter than an Ogier are we? 'Cause, if I recall, Moiraine wasn't sure about it until Loial pointed it out. And she didn't dispute it or doubt it once it was shared with her. But, of course, Egghead would have seen something if he really was taveren.

I'm not trying to disparage anyone that thinks Egghead can walk on water. People smarter than me think she's MOA. Thankfully, there are also people smarter than me that think she's an arrogant little snit that completely ruins their suspension of disbelief. She's a true-to-life personality with a unicorns and fairies level amount of success.
161. DevilsAdvocate
Up until TGS, Egwene's attitude towards Rand has always pissed me off. This chapter is just another example to me: her "righteous" indignation about his assumed behavior. It's always struck me as Egwene being very childish (which having read TGS, I believe was intentional by RJ). Really irritated me that she always acted like she knew better than Rand when she didn't have nearly the experience he did. For one, she is younger; two, she spent the first part of the series in the isolated bubble of the WT; and three, she doesn't have the benefit of 3000 year-old memories creeping into her head.

Of all the WoT character arcs, I think that Egwene's has the most believability. She spent about 10 of 12 books being a childish brat and only in TGS do I finally see her reaching maturity and do I find myself liking her. Up until then, I would have been more than happy to see this character take a nice dose of balefire from a Dreadlord during TG.
Valentin M
162. ValMar
jedj @ 160

My opinion is not as strong as yours, but I certainly didn't feint, overcome by Egg's awsomeness. She is a mixed quality. And this is good, as far as I'm concerned. WOT ain't fairytale for 8 year olds.

As for the age/wisdom in medieval setting, I think GRRM got it pretty well (if only a couple of the kids were 2-3 years older). I'm not saying RJ did it bad. It's just less of an obvious issue in WOT, I think.
John Massey
163. subwoofer
Well, it is an interesting dichotomy. All the main characters are young. They are from small town anywhere and have limited exposure to the big bad world- er, with the exception of Elayne, but she does lead a very sheltered life. Now these guys are thrust out into the big bad world with a serious sink or swim attitude.

The supporting cast is made of a bunch of cagey veterans that have been over on the dry side and are not a bunch of ameteurs. If they were not so skillful, they would be very dead.

The three main characters, Mat, Rand, and Perrin all have a part of their psyche that draws on experiences over the last few thousand years. It is the meld of this knowledge with the way that they are wired that makes things interesting. It is also the way that others give them credit, or not, that makes things interesting. Specifically, as these boys come of age, the people that have been in contact with them throughout their lives, have problems fitting the two sides together. People who are just coming into these boys lives are much more able to see the boys based on their credentials and their individual experiences in the school of hard knocks.

OTOH, the girls go through a fair bit of training, albeit rapidly sped up. They do make good with what was given to them, but they do not have the advantage of wisdom gained from tapping the last millenia or so.

Tricia Irish
164. Tektonica
I've never been a big Egghead fan either. She was coming into maturity with her MOA in tGS....especially in her dealings with Elaida while a WT captive.

Like JEJ, she always ticked me off re: Rand. That said, her attitude isn't much different from other Randland women regarding men, ie: they are a sub-species. (no offense, Sub.)

I find many things about her annoying.....her arrogance, stubbornness in the face of contrasting evidence, or in dealing with the other immovable boulder, Nynaeve, etc.

I think part of her irritation at Rand and misconstruing of his actions, has to do with their personal history. She may have willingly given him up to Elayne, because she didn't really love him, and because she wanted to be Aes Sedai to her toenails, but I think she still feels a proprietary link to him. A kind of ownership. She had him first, after all.

Time to get over it, Egwene! You two are the two major leaders of the world! I look forward to the chapter where Rand knows her anger. Ummmm.....if he's matured as we hope he has, post Dragonmount, they might just work this out.
165. Freelancer

Is it the final evidence of Jordan's storytelling genius that so much thought and effort is applied to discussing the characters' relative merits, and how those are viewed and dealt with by other characters, all fictional?
Hugh Arai
166. HArai
Jamesedjones@160: Egwene's attitude irritates me, but I've always just seen it as her letter-perfect adoption of the "I'm Aes Sedai, I always know better than you" of well, every single Aes Sedai :).
ValMar@162: I don't know. I've alway thought Sansa was kind of a wacky outlier. Honor-bound family yes, but how could a Stark be that much of an idiot? :)

Freelancer@165: It's proof what he wrote resonated with us anyway.
Valentin M
167. ValMar
Tek @ 164
Indeed, I forgot to add it in my previous post- we shouldn't forget that women in WOT believe that men mature about 10 (?) years later an are dimmer in general. Especially the younger ladies. One of the more blatant gender reversals from RL.

HArai @ 166
Sansa being an idiot? This just adds credence to my opinion; if all them whipper snappers were savy politicians from the get go it would be nonsensical. Sansa is learning, fast. I hope George gives her a good ending.
diane heath
168. jadelollipop
@153 thanks for the quote from Robert Jordan re: Egwene. I know she has a blind spot re: Seanchan and damane etc. Think it should be Mat that faces her anger (what with his marriage into the Seanchan nobility) ?? Also she grew up with all 3 Taveren(s?) so should be in shock alot :)
Ron Garrison
169. Man-0-Manetheran
BillinHI: My kitteh always had a routine when I had been gone for a week or so. First she would scold me. Then we would systematically go through the house and be petted in each of her favorite places: the couch, the window chair and finally end up on her 7-foot cat pole where she loved to hang and be petted.
Whenever I was preparing to move to a new house and started gathering boxes, she would immediately grasp the situation and adopt a box of her own. Let's just say, I learned quickly that it was HER box and that she intended to be moved with me!
Tasneem Gould
170. Latecomer
134. Aladdin_Sane
Yay another WOT lover in Christchurch. I was starting to think I was the only one.
Scientist, Father
171. Silvertip
@154 Up2Stuff:

Rand - Volcano - Jimmy Buffet

||snort||spray||damn, gotta clean the screen again ...
172. David DeLaney
I also read the new ToM chapter, and yeah, that's Mat now. The dichotomy between what he's _thinking_, and what he's actually doing, is standing in much sharper, Matlike, relief. Yay!

Alice Arneson
173. Wetlandernw
subwoofer @150 - "It is curious that WoT wise, folks don't give each other the benefit of the doubt and trust that there may be a very reasonable explination for what a person may hear." So very true! I think that's why I like to play DA here - I can't convince the characters to recognize that someone may have a reasonable explanation for their behavior, so I try to convince the readers instead. :) Ah, the consideration of possibility...

ditto @163 - Well said!! Very insightful, too.

However irritated we may be by someone's "blind spot" attitude toward another character, in almost all cases they are actually very comprehensible blind spots. I would go so far as to say that in many cases, the lack of that blind spot would be much more difficult to believe, and would reduce the whole thing to a tepid fairy-tale.
Jonathan Levy
174. JonathanLevy
161. DevilsAdvocate @ 161
Up until TGS, Egwene's attitude towards Rand has always pissed me off. This chapter is just another example to me: her "righteous" indignation about his assumed behavior.

Yeah, that pattern was set early - right in TEOTW:
“But, Egwene—”
“Who is Elayne?”
For a minute he stared at her, then told the simple truth. “She’s the Daughter-Heir to the throne of Andor.”
Her eyes seemed to catch fire. “If you can’t be serious for more than a minute, Rand al’Thor, I do not want to talk to you.”
I need to talk to Perrin, he thought. He knows how to deal with women.

Ha Ha! Poor Rand.
175. Nanaimobar
ToM Chapter. Noooooooo.
Teaser this early!
Must. Pay. To.Read.Prologue.
Curse/Thank you BS!

Good chapters but over-run by ToM awesomeness.

Must remember 'that's how to tip over the barmaids, or is that from over tipping?
James Hogan
176. Sonofthunder
Tek @145,

Yep, I grew up in Florida! Tampa, actually. Went to University of Florida before moving for my job...I'm coming back to Florida for the Christmas holidays to see my fam though! I can't wait!!
Thomas Keith
177. insectoid
HArai @166/ValMar @167: Even though I've only read a fifth of Book 2 (been busy lately), I haven't been able to decide which of the two Stark girls has more space between the ears... though Arya is pretty clever at times. (No spoilers, ok?)

Isn't the Prologue out yet? *twitch*

James Hogan
178. Sonofthunder
insectoid @177,

The prologue is indeed out!! I have it sitting on my desktop right now...waiting until lunchtime. ;)

@GRRM discussion...I for the first time picked up GoT the other day at the book shop...finished it last night. He is indeed a masterful writer! For some reason, Clash of Kings was the only book NOT at the shop, so I'll have to wait until I can find it somewhere to continue reading. It makes me happy that now I can understand these references. I do wish GRRM toned down certain aspects of his writing, though. Alas for the difficulties in finding epic well written "clean" books...
Jonathan Levy
179. JonathanLevy
Sonofthunder @ 178
Soon you can join us in waiting for the next book in another endless series. The fun never ends!
Valentin M
180. ValMar
insect @ 177

Arya is definitely the tomboy/warrior type. Sansa looks like will be in her element in the palace intrigues. But that's in the future and not for definite. Both of them will have a lot of growing up to do. And I'm sick of waiting to read about it :)
Thank the Creator for WOT!
Wesley Parish
181. Aladdin_Sane
@135. Jonathan Levy, 155. Tinaa, and 170. Latecomer, etc

I survived - though being shaken awake at 4.30 am is not that pleasant an experience!!! Thankfully, my flat wasn't damaged, just reduced to chaos. Had to pick up a lot of books, make sure none of my musical instruments were damaged - they weren't, thank goodness!, and sort out everything else. then ring some old friends in other parts of Christchurch, make sure they're okay, and just keep going.

FWLIW, I've been working on a percussion piece, "Earthquake", as a result. Those timpani drum rolls have got to be good for something! :)

Now, to return to our feature performance ... I'm reminded, every now and then, that RJ was writing in a "compare and contrast" relationship to JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings; and in LotR, one of the things that causes a lot of harm, is when Denethor stops treating other opponents to Sauron as people on his side, and starts treating them primarily as his competition. So, we have a new nation forming out of the wreck of the old Andorian province of the Two Rivers - and probably Ghealdan as well. We have a world rapidly spinning out of control due to the pressures of a demiurge with a bad attitude. And we have Team Light with the leading player thinking he is the team, and everyone else jockeying for position as if the emergencies aren't taking place.

I give Robert Jordan full credit for writing so realistically. His world-creation skills are something extraordinary.
Rob Munnelly
182. RobMRobM
Re GRRM - Sansa is far from an idiot but she had an overly romantic view of life that ensnared her in all types of difficulties. Also, in the words of one character, she lost her wolf. Arya is whipsmart and tough but needs to decide what to with her life beyond addressing her growing "sh*t" list.

Re WOT, I've always been an Egwene fan and her development through the books has been a highlight for me. But I do agree her attitude towards Rand has been irritating pretty much throughout.

183. alreadymadwithegwene
Jonathan Levy @174
That was Egwene being jealous over Rand falling into some girl's way. Conveniently forgetting the fact that she flirted around with Tinkers long before they ever set eyes on Caemlyn.
John Massey
184. subwoofer
Sooo... with the big Distinctions Prologue drop- will there be a post today?

Donna Harvey
185. snaggletoothedwoman
I hope so, I can't read my "Distinctions" until I get home.....
Hurry up clock!!!!
Matthew Smith
186. blocksmith
Finally caught, RL is just not slowing down.

Not much to add to the comments...but I will say....


Anytime is a good time for a slug of Guiness.
Roger Powell
187. forkroot
Arrgh - Picked up the prologue and it's sitting on my iPhone (Kindle reader) and this is the ONE DAY, that my boss is in town and wants to take me and customer contacts to lunch.

So.... instead of reading it at lunch, I guess I'll have to wait until the end of the work day.

188. alreadymadwithguiness
Silvertip @78
Alcohol isn't recommended for gestating babies. Although I can see why it would be recommended for mothers in labor.
Hugh Arai
189. HArai
ValMar@167: I just hope she manages to do something where my immediate response isn't "oh Sansa, you didn't... sigh" . Things were looking up last book I admit.
RobMRobM@182: I'll agree to that interpretation of Sansa, but I still have to wonder how a Stark grew up with such romantic blinders. They're not exactly the family for fairy tales.
Rob Munnelly
190. RobMRobM
@189 - easy peasy - Sansa's (at least) half Tully, LOL.
Hugh Arai
191. HArai
RobMRobM@190: A palpable, palpable hit. Round to you :)
Valentin M
192. ValMar
HArai @ 189
Things are looking up indeed. George does like to keep us on our toes though. Still, I believe that most of the culling of the major characters is done. I'm hoping for a pay-off from Sansa and the toddler up north.
Rob @ 190
Good one. Also, IIRC, her mother wanted Sansa to be raised like a proper little princes.
Tasneem Gould
193. Latecomer
RobMRobM@190: So is the BlackFish, and he is awesome.
Actually I didn't get much of the Cat-hate either, everyone knows the ladies in ye olden times didn't exactly have a great deal of influence over anything, not even their own lives. I felt kind of bad for her, having all the right ideas (with Rob / Theon etc) but just being ignored by the men.
William McDaniel
196. willmcd
I found these chapters dull (as I see that many did), and Ch 27 to be slightly frustrating because of its demonstration of the continued uselessness of the First Oath:
“The Tower meddles everywhere,” Tenobia muttered. “No, Ethenielle; I will say this! The whole world knows the Tower is divided. Do you follow Elaida or the rebels, Elayne?”

“The world seldom knows what it thinks it knows,” Merilille said in a voice that seemed to lower the temperature in the tent.
. . . and then Merilille starts hurling insults. Of course, the fact is that the admittedly hot-headed Tenobia is completely correct, but Merilille attempts to obscure this truth because it would weaken her negotiating position. Only a paragraph or two later, Elayne thinks that Merlillie's rash speech had saved her from having to "prevaricate while seeming to speak only the truth". Aes Sedai communication is centered around misleading people without actually lying. Of course, we all knew that already.

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